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Mountain News: Slow, local food in the news



WHISTLER, B.C. – From Whistler to Aspen to Vail, food continues to be at the forefront on the minds of many people in the mountain towns. Of great interest in recent years has been the idea of eating local.

In the Eagle Valley, where Vail is located, a local book club chose “Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-mile Diet” as the book for common reading.

Is that realistic? After all, the old-timers ate local, but they ate an awful lot of sauerkraut. Cabbage was relatively easy to grow. Even in summer, the menu is rather limited.

Selection is broader in the Whistler area, where the elevation is only 2,000 feet. There, organizers for four years have held a bicycling event called the Slow Food Cycle to draw attention to the agricultural munificence of the nearby Pemberton Valley. This year 2,300 people pedaled their way past farms, stopping along the way to buy foodstuffs and learn about agricultural operations, reports Pique newsmagazine.

Prompting the event was concern that the farms, which are described as having some of the best soil in North America, were facing danger of development.

In Aspen, long-time environmental activist Lester Brown last week also spoke about food — but within the context of the changing climate. His point is that a lot of food is inextricably global — and likely to become more so.

Central to Brown’s argument is new and alarming evidence of the melting of glaciers, not just in polar regions but in the Himalaya of Asia. That mountainous region provides the headwaters for two of the world’s great rivers, the Yellow that flows through China and the Ganges of India.

Lingering snowmelt through summer creates year-round flows for these rivers. Without this, they will become seasonal rivers, making it more difficult to sustain the wheat and rice crops of the two countries, the world’s most populous. That, in turn, will swell demand for food from the rest of the world, said Brown, who is president of the Earth Policy Institute.


Money to burn

ASPEN, Colo. – Bummed about the 12 miles per gallon your SUV gets when gas is $4 to $5 a gallon? Think of what it’s like to hurtle across the landscape in a Gulfstream, an airplane of choice for billionaires.

The newest iteration of the Gulfstream, a model called the G-V, burns 400 gallons of fuel per hour when in the air, but more when taking off.

The math of travel by this, among the most fuel-efficient of private jets, is staggering, points out the Aspen Times’s Scott Condon. He interviewed Cliff Runge, the former operator of a business that serviced private aircraft at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.

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