Think Globally, Gift Locally: the 100-mile Cultural Diet

In the 100-Mile Cultural Diet, Timothy Young of Food for Thought writes:

Local food is hot. As we continue discovering evidence of all the social, environmental and economic benefits of eating local, the phenomenon becomes less of a debate and more of a movement. For instance, it seems that almost every day I hear of more and more people who are adopting the 100-mile diet approach to life. The goal of the diet is to eat foods produced within 100 miles of your home.

I think this is a valiant task and I applaud anyone who makes this type of commitment. But to be honest, I’m a lapsed follower of such a diet because there are certain out-of-season and bio-regional foods (bananas, chocolate, winter lettuce, etc.) that simply bring so much pleasure and health to life! However, we all don’t have to strictly practice the 100-mile diet to make a big difference in our collective quality of life. I recently read a statistic whereby if every Michigan resident increased their weekly purchase of local food by $10.00, it would keep $37 million circulating in the Michigan economy each week! Such statistics always cause me to wonder, “If it works for food, why not culture?” Such statistics also remind me to recommit to buying local beyond food.

For example, I’ve committed to making local music a purchasing priority. To initiate this, I’ll be purchasing CD’s from local bands and musicians and giving them out this holiday season. Call it my 100-mile cultural diet. Sure I may download the occasional chocolate, banana or winter lettuce in the form of Iggy Pop, Brain Eno or Jack Johnson, but for the most part, I’m going to make an effort to purchase my culture within my region, be it music, art or literature.

The Leelanau.com Holiday Gift Guide is a great place to find many ideas for local gifts, including local musicians and local food products.

Also check out, absolutemichigan.com/Music for more great Michigan musicians!

Photo credit: Seth Bernard and May Erlewine (aka Daisy May) played at The Water Festival in Traverse City by farlane

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