After our recent discussion about traditional skills and the DIY ethic, reader Kim Cornman pointed me to an interesting project being conducted by the staff of Sunset magazine. While many folks have embraced the idea of a 100-mile diet (eating only food produced within one hundred miles of their home), the folks at Sunset have taken the locavore movement to a whole new level. Here’s a description of the project:
We’re longtime fans of the local eating movement, which champions getting food grown as close as possible to where you live. About a year ago, we took this to its logical conclusion: Instead of a 100-mile or 50-mile diet, how about a one-block diet? We’d raise everything at Sunset, in a backyard-size plot, for a late-summer feast (and a lot of cooking beyond).
We began our project knowing how to garden and cook. But as for winemaking, beekeeping, saltmaking, and the rest of it, we were completely untrained. We tackled these time-honored crafts with beginner’s gusto, and learned that we really could do it all. And so can you.
Along the way, Sunset produced a series of free printable how-to guides, which they’ve made available for download via PDF. You can find instructions for the following:
- How to make beer
- How to raise chickens
- How to make wine (syrah or chardonnay)
- How to raise honeybees (and make honey)
- How to make vinegar
- How to make salt (?!?)
- How to make olive oil
- How to make cheese
- How to grow summer crops
- How to attract beneficial insects
I should note that while I think it’s fun that Sunset is doing this, it’s important to realize that they’re only able to produce enough food for several feasts every year. It’s not like they’re able to produce all the food they need for year-round eating. (Although it would be interesting to see them try.)
If this project interests you (as it interest me), you can follow along via the One Block Diet blog.