Book Review – Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally

I just finished reading Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally. The authors, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, tell their story of living for a year eating only foods produced within 100 miles of their Vancouver apartment. If you think it’s easy to eat 100% within a 100-mile radius, think again. The authors endure several months without wheat and a year without buying salt and olive oil. Thank goodness they quite drinking coffee and tea several years before their experiment, or I think I would have gone mad reading about a year without two of my favorite drinks.

If you already eat locally, you come across familiar scenes in the book – stored apples smelling like hard cider, closets taken over by canned food and butternut squash, and potatoes beginning to sprout eyes because you don’t have a root cellar. Eating locally isn’t all glamour, but the rewards are fantastic! As Smith and MacKinnon discovers, you get to eat AND taste real food. Have you ever had store bought eggs after you started eating locally? I’m always shocked that store bought eggs taste like, um, nothing. Same with honey. I know I sound like an elitist, but how do people eat them?

Eating locally takes you to bizarre places, and Smith and MacKinnon are no exception. They drive to nowhere Canada to buy walnuts from a lady whose farm has a sign that says BIOSECURITY ZONE. They encounter a bear while foraging in a Canadian forest. I’ve encountered snakes while foraging and met my peach dealer at a gas station, so I was able to relate.

Whether you just started eating locally or are an old veteran, Plenty has plenty of good local foods stories. Check it out and discover how fun eating locally can be!

For more information about the authors’ 100-mile diet, visit

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