Local author shortlisted for culinary book award

Saanich resident Carolyn Herriot nominated for book, The Zero Mile Diet

The solution to many of the world’s food supply problems are in your own backyard.

That’s the philosophy behind Carolyn Herriot’s book The Zero Mile Diet: A Year Round Guide to Growing Organic Food.

And if reaction to the book is any indicator, it’s an idea that’s catching on.

The Saanich resident was recently named to the shortlist for a 2011 Canadan Culinary Book Award in the special interest category for the book, which teaches readers how to feed themselves in a sustainable manner.

“I was inspired by (Vancouver couple Alisa Smith and J. B. MacKinnon’s) 100-Mile Diet,” Herriot said, “but it doesn’t tell you what to do. It outlines the difficulties and the problems and the challenges.

“Zero Mile is a solution guide. It’s not just another vegetable gardening book. This is a book about how to feed yourself from your own backyard.”

Herriot, who runs an organic seed business called Seeds of Victoria, says global insecurity over things like climate change, world hunger, and even the fact that Vancouver Island could be hit by a major earthquake at any time all helped inspire the book, her second.

“It seemed to me that having more self-reliance was a good way to go,” she said.

Making the shift to sustainable gardening is easier than most people realize.

“We don’t grow our own food anymore even though gardening is the number one leisure pursuit in North America,” she said. “It only requires a small paradigm shift. We can keep gardening but instead of growing only ornamental plants, grow edible ornamental plants.”

The Zero Mile Diet takes readers through “the A to Z’” of vegetables and culinary herbs, Herriot said. It also teaches them how to save the seeds for future crops.

“For me, sustainability and food production has to take seed saving into account.”

The Canadian Culinary Book Awards recognize excellence in food and beverage writing while promoting Canadian food culture. Gold and silver prizes are awarded in three categories. The winners will be announced on Nov. 7.

“It makes perfect sense to me to go back into the garden, grow more of your own food, get your children involved, and sit around the table together,” Herriot said.

editor@oakbaynews.com