100 miles of MIO

I was looking at my blog stats today, and I noticed an incoming link from a site called Rise Up Buffalo. I clicked the link to find a Buffalo, N.Y.-based blog devoted to community activism, environmental responsibility, and various other crunchy-granola-type issues near and dear to my heart.

One interesting thing I found on Rise Up Buffalo was a link to the 100-Mile Diet, a site run by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon, who spent a year eating nothing but food that was produced within 100 miles of their home in Vancouver, B.C. The site is designed to help people reduce their dependence on food that’s been shipped in from who-knows-where and increase their support of local farmers.

Their adventures in thinking globally and eating locally reminded me of Judith Levine, who spent a year buying nothing except absolute essentials; Heather Hughes and Hanson Hosein, who shopped indie all the way across the United States while filming a documentary about the plight of the small business owner, and my own monthlong foray into shopping locally, which eventually led to the creation of my Indie Tulsa blog.

Although my all-indie-all-the-time experiment lasted only a month, it was relatively painless, and while I’ve gotten lazy and gone back to the big boxes more than I’d like to admit since then, it definitely raised my awareness and increased the amount of time and money I spend at locally owned businesses.

After a frustrating conversation last week with a friend who couldn’t understand why I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart and an eerie Big-Brother-is-watching-you experience at Target (after I paid for my purchases with my Target Visa card, I received a coupon for my favorite brand of conditioner, even though I hadn’t bought any that day, so apparently Target is keeping tabs on my hair-care procedures), I’m thinking maybe it’s time to take another stand against mindless consumerism and move another step closer to an all-indie lifestyle.

My schedule and other commitments don’t really allow me the luxury of cooking every meal at home for an entire year (and, frankly, it would break my heart to abandon the mom-and-pop diner scene for that long), but with a little planning, there’s no reason I can’t buy all my groceries at farmers’ markets or Center One (CAUTION: Music starts automatically), insist on Made In Oklahoma products whenever possible, and confine my shopping to mom-and-pop operations as far as I can.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.


6 thoughts on “100 miles of MIO”

  1. Emily,

    I wonder if you are interested in doing a little hippie work in West Tulsa? I am an officer for a budding young community coalition in West Tulsa. We have identified a few issues key to the health of West Tulsa, like bring in a grocery store to serve the area, offer program on overcoming poverty, prevent youth access to drugs and alcohol and improve public transit. We have schools, YMCA, Churches, Housing Authority, OSU Medical, and others. Please drop me an email about the West Tulsa Coalition. We need locals who want to make a difference. You know… Hippie chicks

  2. Came by via Florophore’s blogroll and had to comment 🙂

    I do not shop at WalMart either, and it confounds people. Why not just give up? Why drive to threeshops when you can buy socks, potting soil AND milk there? Just give in. It’s so cheap, so open-24-hours, so bright and shiny. Ugh. Anyhow, I look forward to your updates on your new mission.

  3. Y2K: My plate is crammed about as full as it can go at the moment, but I may have a few bits and pieces to offer. I’ll e-mail you when I get a hand free.

    Laura: There are more of us out there than people realize. I’ll guarantee you Wal-Mart realizes it, though. I do slip into Wal-Mart occasionally (and by “occasionally,” I mean maybe twice a year) to check the pulse of our collective social consciousness. As a barometer for gauging where Middle America is on various issues, Wal-Mart is remarkably useful … and I am pleased to report that while we still have a long way to go, we are making progress as a society. I see it in the ever-expanding variety of organic products on the shelves, in the addition of store-brand soymilk to the dairy case, in the increasing selection of CFLs in the lightbulb aisle … you get the idea. Little things, to be sure, but those items wouldn’t be on the shelf if there weren’t demand for them. Maybe our collective thought hasn’t grown enough yet to grasp the idea that cost and price tag are two different things, but I see hopeful signs, and I think the time is coming, in the not-too-distant future, when Wal-Mart’s customers will demand a more responsible, sustainable set of business practices than the ones we’ve seen out of the company up to this point. And when that time comes, I guarantee you Wal-Mart will have a strong enough sense of self-preservation to meet the demand. In the meantime, keep fighting the good fight. It takes time to change the world, but it’s not an impossible task.

  4. Emily –

    Just wanted to say THANKS for the links back to my humble little corner of the web. I’m trying my best to get good things out to the people of WNY and beyond. So far, the response has not been great, but I’m hoping to continue and help people become more aware.

    I’ve tried, for the past few years, to do all my holiday shopping locally. This year I’m going the handmade route and signing the pledge located here – http://www.buyhandmade.org/ – we’ll see if i can maintain it. We have also decided that this will be our last year of sending holiday cards through the mail. We will go out with a bang though by sending a message in each card about localism, environmentalism, activism, etc. to get others on board. We’ll see how that turns out as I have many family members that are Republican (on my husband’s side, thankfully.)

    Have a lovely winter season and I’ll be seeing you around the blogosphere!

    Peace – Chantale (aka hippiegrrl from rise up buffalo!)

  5. Ever heard of the compact? They only shop at freecycle. craig’s list, or resale shops. We definitely are what we buy.

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