The Challenge of the 100 Mile Meal
This evening, Salt Lake City Green and Mayor Ralph Becker will host the 100 Mile Meal: Food with a Salt Lake City Story. The meal represents a celebration of Salt Lake City’s local food, farms and economy, while illustrating a commitment to sustainable agriculture.
Did you know the average meal in the United States travels 1,500 miles from the farm to your plate? Food that travels long distances impacts:
- Environment. A larger carbon footprint due to fuel consumption and polluting emissions.
- Food Security. Limited accountability due to large processing and distribution chains leaves food more vulnerable to contamination.
- Nutrition. Fruits and veggies are most nutritious (and delicious!) when they are fresh.
- Economy. Local farms mean more local jobs and revenue.
The 100 Mile Meal features seasonal ingredients sourced from farms within 100 miles of Mayor Becker’s office. In this day and age, this was no easy feat.
What does it take to create a truly local, Utah meal? The list of local producers supplying ingredients for the meal is extensive.
Here’s a taste:
- Baguettes made from Lehi Roller Mills Flour, baked by Carlucci’s Bakery (1.5 miles)
- Cherry tomatoes from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office Jail Division’s Program (7 miles)
- Fresh mozzarella from Beehive Cheese Company (34 miles)
- Red beets, garlic, red onion and fresh parlsey from Payang Farms (35 miles)
- Spaghetti and butternut squash from Tony and Tina Farms (65 miles)
- Pork loin from Ballard Hog Farms, distributed by Wasatch Meats, Inc. (95 miles)
- Ground beef from Cache Valley, processed by the Jbs Beef Plant in Hyrum, Utah (97 miles)
The concept of eating locally is an ancient one, however the adherence to a modern diet with foods sourced from within a 100-mile radius was popularized in 2007 with the release of the book, “Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally” by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon.
In “Plenty,” the authors recounted their experience nourishing themselves for one year on fish they caught, berries they picked, mushrooms they scavenged for, and preserving everything else for the winter months.
Every ingredient had a story, and there was a clearly traceable path from source to fork.
This is the same premise for the 100 Mile Meal — food with a story specific to our Salt Lake community.
Food Day is a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food; it is also a grassroots campaign for better food policies.
Food Day is a movement that builds all year long and culminates in a week of action around October 24 every year.