An Alameda Garden: The 100-Foot Diet Challenge

Monday, January 07, 2008

The 100-Foot Diet Challenge

The good folks at Path to Freedom have launched a fun challenge to anyone who wants to participate. They are calling it the 100-Foot Diet Challenge and the premise is pretty simple: the challenge is to eat at least one meal a week from your own garden.

There has been a lot of talk in the media about the 100-mile diet concept and I've read two books recently about the experiences of some intrepid locavores (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon). The 100-foot diet seems to me both simpler and more complex. Simpler because the minimum challenge is just one meal a week. More complex because, in my garden at least, the pickin's are currently slim.

I thought at first that I wouldn't be able to start this challenge for at least a few weeks, until I could get a crop of salad greens going. Then I remembered that I had at least one ingredient already harvested: six small pumpkins that I picked in November and early December were still sitting on my buffet in the dining room. And a walk around the garden this afternoon in between rainstorms brought up another few options, although none of them were looking particularly yummy. I planted some broccoli rabe this fall, but the plants came out spindly and they bolted quickly. I'd be lucky to get a handful out of it that was edible. There was also some kale and some nasturtium leaves that could be used for a salad. I also remembered that I'd harvested a small amount of garlic a few months ago and still had some on hand. Giving my weedy garden one last scan, I realized there was plenty of another edible that I hadn't actually planted--dandelions. Not a feast, to be sure, but enough.

So here was Meal #1 for my 100-Foot Diet Challenge: roasted pumpkin, and rabe and dandelion greens sauteed in garlic and olive oil, followed by roasted pumpkin seeds for a snack. The only purchased ingredients were salt, pepper, and olive oil, and the olive oil was locally produced in the Livermore Valley. The meal was actually pretty tasty, although I wish the broccoli rabe had been a more successful crop--it was delicious but there was only a little bit of it.

I'm feeling inspired now to get more cool vegetable crops going. I have a couple packs of mesclun and spinach seeds to sow, and I may have another go at rabe. I'll have to figure out what else I can start this early.

Whether or not you want to participate in the 100-Foot Diet Challenge, check out the Path to Freedom website. I think they're very inspiring.


  1. I'm so glad you posted this. I've wanted to enter the challenge but didn't think I had enough food growing or stored, either. But I think I might be able to wing this.

    I LOVE Path to Freedom! They inspire me continually! But it was great to read about someone a little more on my level. :)

  2. Hi Claire I'm linking todays blog post (Jan 10th) to you for mentioning the Hundred foot diet.I did a google search and came up with an inspiring video.Its ten minutes long but worth watching.
    I wish I had Pasadena weather, so my kitchen garden will reflect Yorkshire conditions!


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