In the spring of 2008, a group of students at Hampshire College began to meet with the purpose of embarking on a year long project centered around procuring and eating local foods. We researched the various aspects of eating a local diet, including sourcing, preserving and health implications as well as the economic impact of a locally centered diet. This semester (fall 2008) we are striving to live entirely on food produced within one hundred and fifty miles of Hampshire College in Amherst Massachusetts.
“I wish to live deliberately,” Thoreau wrote, “to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach.” We wish to eat deliberately. We are not undertaking this project as survivalists trying to prove that one can live on a local diet. This attitude would be missing the point. Instead of asceticism and rigidity, we see this project as an opportunity for creativity and the pleasure of good food and community. While our diets may be more limited in the coming months, this project will also prompt us to better appreciate the beautiful flavors that can be found in our area: Heirloom tomatoes and basil, crisp apples and hearty winter stews await us this semester. We believe that healthy food produced, prepared and eaten with friends is an intrinsic good.
Through this project, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of what we eat and how it is produced and to share our experiences with others. Agriculture, economics, food science, education and many other disciplines are inextricably tied to this project. Each one of us is embarking on this adventure with different ideas and perspectives on the many facets of the local food economy. We hope that you find our experiences informative and inspiring and we are looking forward to sharing our progress through this food adventure. We will include stories of our successes and failures, recipes and meal ideas.