Community Nutrition · My Dietetics Journey

100 Mile Dinner – Eat Local!

On October 13, WVU Dining hosted the Annual 100 Mile Dinner at Cafe Evansdale. This dinner sources its main ingredients within a 100 mile radius of Morgantown.

I was attending the event to help run the Food Recovery Network table – where we basically hand out fliers of our organization and encourage others to join us in the fight against food waste on campus.

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The Food Recovery Network table right outside of Cafe Evansdale during the 100 Mile Dinner (check out that awesome SnapChat filter they had, too!)

As a volunteer, we got to enjoy this locally sourced meal for FREE and it was outstanding! The menu included:

  • smoked pork loin
  • fried cabbage and noodles (my FAVORITE!)
  • roasted harvest vegetables
  • buckwheat pancakes
  • eggs to order
  •  sausage patties
  • local marinara sauce on the pasta bar
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The menu posted right outside of Cafe Evansdale.

The meal was an awesome success. Sourcing locally is so important. Become a locavore : a person who makes an effort to eat food that is grown, raised, or produced locally” according to dictionary.comRemember to support your local farmers – shop locally and feel good about where your food came from!

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Some of the educational *posters during the event to educate consumers why being a “locavore” is important! (not my photo – WVU Dining Twitter).

*Poster titled “100 Mile Challenges” reads:

“Why Sourcing Local is a Challenge in West Virginia

Geography: Feeding the WVU student body requires a lot of food. one of the challenges in WV is that mountains and hills limit the amount of farm-able land to the south and east of campus.

Scale: WV is a state of small farms, in part due to the hilly and mountainous geography. According to one 2014 USDA report, WV farms are, on average, one-fourth the size of farms nationwide. Smaller farms can’t always keep up with WVU’s large demand.

Seasonality: Farmland in WV is USDA plant hardiness zones 5 and 6,meaning most WV crops should be harvested by the end of October. It’s extremely difficult to eat local from the months of December to May.”

*Poster titled “100 Mile Reasons” reads:

“Why We Care About Eating Local

Sustainability: A large network of transportation hubs is needed to bring us out of season produce from across the US and the world. Eating local reduces the carbon footprint that network creates.

Health: Fresh local ingredients do not require added preservatives for freshness. Eating local excludes many processed foods known for empty calories. Fresh, locally sourced produce is more nutrient dense than preserved produce.

Economics: WVU has a mission to give back to the state of West Virginia. Buying local ensures that our state has a robust farming economy, giving small farming operations a chance to grow and develop.”

Here’s my top 3 reasons to become a locavore:

  1. There’s just something about the farmers’ market that provides a strong sense of community that regular grocery or convenience stores just can’t offer. Maybe it’s the passion that so many of the farmers exude for their profession that is so uplifting, and makes it, quite honestly, a therapeutic experience. Maybe it’s the other shoppers who are so equally passionate about supporting their local farmers and thanking them for providing us with a way to nourish our bodies. Either way, farmers’ markets provide community members with a way to gather and socialize while sharing a mutual love for fresh foods.
  2. Eating local supports the local economy. Showing farmers that you are supportive of their hard work and are grateful that they have chosen to grow the food that supports our health is extremely important. The money that you spend on local food stays in the area and encourages jobs. Farming is often passed down through generations of families and is how they make a living. We need to encourage farm families to keep doing what they’re doing, considering that today, the average American farmer supports about 155 people, compared to only 25.8 people in 1960 (Farmers Feed Us).  In addition, I love getting to taste new flavors when several of the farmers have their own special recipes of jams, jellies, sauces, and soups. In a way, buying local is like supporting the arts… an art that literally gives you life.
  3. Eating local not only TASTES better, but it IS better. Period. When you buy those tomatoes from your local farmer, you can put a safe bet on it that they were picked within the last 2 days…and it shows. The food tastes fresher since it’s in season. (Imagine those juicy, red, summer tomatoes…yummm).  Local food is not covered in preservatives, since it did not have to travel halfway across the country to get to you. Speaking of, less fuel is needed to get local foods to the consumer, which helps reduce greenhouse gases, making local food more environmentally favorable. We typically call the amount of fuel used for transporting food: food miles. So when you buy the out-of-season foods at the supermarket, you can be sure that they have traveled from where they are in season, accumulating more food miles than the in-season foods in your area.

Have I sold you on eating local? Check out this awesome resource to look up what foods are in season in your state so you too can reduce your food miles! -> Seasonal Food Guide.

Happy eating! 🙂

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