What’s happening this week? Plenty! | PostIndependent.com

What’s happening this week? Plenty!

Library spotlight
Emily Hisel
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Did you know the New Oxford American Dictionary named “locavore” as the 2007 Word of the Year? If you are like me, you haven’t even heard the term until recently.

Yet the term, the ideas, as well as the locavores among us, are all gaining in popularity. In case you are wondering, a locavore refers to a person who eats only (or mostly) food that is grown locally. It is an interesting way to focus on the freshest, most flavorful foods that don’t need to be preserved or shipped thousands of miles before they are enjoyed.

Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon began a one-year diet in 2005. They ate only what they could find produced within 100 miles of their hometown of Vancouver. While they could find many vegetables and meats, some things simply don’t grow near Vancouver. There are no olives, and ” brace yourself ” there is no chocolate. But by committing to this diet, they found the remarkable variety of their own local economy. They went seven months before finding a wheat farmer and were once again able to enjoy pasta, bread and pancakes. They also tried new foods in substitution for the processed and packaged foods they once munched.

On their website, 100milediet.org, the authors are up-front about the challenges and rewards of such a drastic change in their eating habits. They write: “We lived a year on the 100-Mile Diet as an experiment. Now we’re committed to eating locally, but certain long-distance favorites have made it back into the larder.”

After embracing this lifestyle change, Smith and MacKinnon wrote the book “Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet.” After reading it, Deborah Madison (author of “Local Flavors”) wrote, “I assure you that your farmers’ market will never again look the same. Nothing you eat will look the same! This inspiring and enlightening book will give you plenty to chew on.” “Plenty” was selected as the Valley Read by Colorado Mountain College.

The Garfield County Public Library District partnered with CMC, and has already hosted two successful events in conjunction with the Valley Read program. In Carbondale, the Gordon Cooper Library held a harvest potluck, which drew 56 people who brought delicious homemade food of local origins. Those who participated in the harvest potluck also heard from Aspen chef Shane Coffey, who told his own experiences of his locavore diet. The New Castle Library held a Night of Plenty, where people engaged in a conversation about living on locally grown produce, co-op gardening and eating healthy foods. Representatives from the New Castle Community Garden, Community Supported Agriculture and Niemann’s Gardens led the lively discussions.

This week marks the culmination of the Valley Read as authors Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon will be in the area to discuss their book, as well as their diet. The authors will first speak at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the CMC West Garfield Campus Auditorium. The authors will also speak in Glenwood Springs at 3 and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, at the CMC Spring Valley Campus in the New Space Theatre of the Calaway Building. The events are open to the public, but a $5 donation at the door is appreciated.

Please join us this week as we meet the authors and hear how eating locally can change your view of the world.

Emily Hisel is Garfield County Library District outreach coordinator.

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