Community

Introducing the Zero Mile Diet

Carolyn Herriot will share the secrets of her success living off the land, in a seminar on March 17, sponsored by the Langley Environmental Partners Society. - submitted photo
Carolyn Herriot will share the secrets of her success living off the land, in a seminar on March 17, sponsored by the Langley Environmental Partners Society.
— image credit: submitted photo

You’ve probably heard about the hundred mile diet, a social movement which advocates eating food grown within 100 miles which minimizes the ecological footprint by reducing reliance on imported food because of the financial and environmental cost of transportation.

But what about The Zero Mile Diet?

The concept is the title of a best-selling book by Carolyn Herriot, an organic gardening guru from Vancouver Island. Her book is a month-by-month guide that steers readers down the garden path to the world of edible plants.

She wrote The Zero Mile Diet after discovering that it took only five years to become self-sufficient in fruits and vegetables all year round.

Herriot describes the book, which follows a year of organic homegrown food production and saving seeds for future harvests, as a fun and rewarding way to increase food security while cooling down the planet.

On Saturday, March 17, Herriot will be the featured presenter at the Salmon Friendly Gardens seminar, hosted by the Langley Environmental Partners Society. The event is intended to help residents to make creative use of their gardening space.

The seminar runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Township Civic Facility.

A light lunch will be provided by donation, so pre-registration is required. Contact Kim Greenwood at 604 532-3513 or email kgreenwood@tol.ca to register or to learn more.

The seminar will address concerns about regional food security in light of peak oil prices, climate change and the instability of an economic recession.

Greenwood, a LEPS  special events co-ordinator, explains the concept of Salmon friendly gardens, namely, that all the runoff from lawns and gardens ends up in storm drains and ultimately, untreated,  into fish habitat.

“We know salmon don’t grow in flower beds,” she said, adding that “vertical landscaping, container gardening, and The Zero Mile Diet are all innovative ways to make your outdoor living space more attractive and better for the planet.

Herriot, who lives in Saanich, said that in order to meet her concerns about an increasingly uncertain future, she decided to grow as much of her own food as possible, from seeds she had saved.

She ran The Garden Path organic plant nursery for 20 years, sharing open-pollinated food plants varieties from which seeds can be saved, with the community.

Herriot continues to share seeds through ‘Seeds of Victoria’ http://earthfuture.com/gardenpath/Seeds_Catalogue.htm.

“We eat produce from the garden every day of the year by growing a diversity of seasonal fruits and vegetables, and putting the harvest by for winter,” she said.

“We use 95 per cent of our own seeds to grow the food,” Herriot said.

She is now writing The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook which, she said, “will show what a good life it is to connect the garden to the kitchen.”

There is compelling evidence to convince people to do everything they can to produce their own food, or buy locally.

Heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer — the four leading causes of death in industrialized nations today — are all chronic diseases linked to diet, Herriot says.

“I believe that these concerning health statistics are a result of the unnatural lifestyle we lead, and that it does not have to be this way.

It has only taken two generations for the majority of people to forget how to grow their own food. Most city dwellers have become alienated from the source of what sustains them, and have little understanding of the environmental and health impacts of processed and packaged food,” she said.

Her topics include:

• Growing organic food year-round;

• The small fruit orchard and backyard berries;

• Superb yet simple seasonal recipes;

• Preserving your harvest

• Seed saving and plant propagation;

• Dirt-cheap ways to nourish your soil;

• Backyard poultry-less time-consuming than you think;

• Growing vegetables in the easiest way possible;

• A-Z guide to growing the best vegetables and herbs.

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