Locavore? Try one-block-avore.


Forget about the 100-mile diet. How about the 100-yard diet?

Sunset Magazine has taken local foods to a whole new level with its One-Block Diet. With a long history of expertise in cooking, gardening, and DIY, and utilizing just the open space on their Menlo Park, California campus, the magazine staff is attempting to grow, cultivate, brew, ferment, breed, and distill everything needed for a complete diet.

Not exactly soup to nuts (no nut trees planted yet), the goal is not total sustenance. There is some daily eating that reflects ripening, harvests, and cooking schedules, but the bulk of the food production is geared toward a series of seasonal feasts that are meant to inform, educate, and inspire the magazine’s readership.

Responsibility for the One-Block Diet has been assigned to teams of staff members in more than a dozen categories.

  • Honey, wax candles, and mead, a traditional honey wine, come from a team of beekeepers.
  • Beer brewers and winemakers go from garden to bottle, with enough left for cooking and salad vinegar.
  • There is a cow for milk and cheese, and eggs to collect from the chickens.
  • The mushroom team germinates spores, the olive growers run a press for cooking oil, and the salt crew learned how to harvest from the ocean and nearby salt ponds of San Francisco Bay water.
  • A gardening team grows and harvests fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, culinary herbs and teas, aided by the garden snail removal provided by Team Escargot. It’s all put together in a series of seasonal meals by the kitchen team.

By now, the virtues of going local are well known. In fact locavore is so much a part of the modern lexicon that it was named word the year for 2007 by the Oxford American Dictionary.

Even if you don’t plan on milling your own grains or getting honey from a backyard hive, the One-Block Diet is more than a lark for a bunch of magazine editors playing at farming. At a time when supermarkets sell fish from Viet Nam, plums from Chile, and apples from New Zealand; and the safety and integrity of our food supply is under attack from genetic modifications and food borne illnesses, an experiment like the One-Block Diet opens our eyes to the possibility of fresher, healthier foods and varieties that just taste better than what the supermarket offers.

Any volunteers for Team Escargot?

Team blogs, how-to manuals, menus, recipes and more are found on Sunset Magazine’s One-Block Diet website.

The Locavore app, available through  Apple’s iTunes store, tells you what’s actually grown near you and what’s ripe and available at any time of year.

Eat Local Challenge covers the local foods movement in communities spanning the U.S.

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