After watching a Netflix documentary and four YouTube videos about the benefits of local, sustainable food, one Lansing family decided to take local eating to the next level.
“I heard about all of these people who would only eat from their state or region for a month or a year or whatever,” explained Tim Hornsby, 38, who lives with his wife, Elaine, 35, and their two children on Lansing’s East Side. “And I thought, hey, we can do better. So we decided that we were only going to eat from a one-mile radius for one month.”
Elaine Hornsby said their friends and family initially scoffed at the idea. Some went so far as to mock them and call them names. “Everyone told us it wasn’t possible and that we were crazy,” she said. “But we showed them! I had no idea eating locally could be so easy, affordable and accessible. I don’t know why everyone thinks it’s hard.”
Luckily for their family, Tim Hornsby explained, the one-mile radius included numerous restaurants and grocery stores. When beginning their local adventure this October, they made a list of all the local venues at which they could purchase local food: Kroger, McDonalds, Subway, Arby’s, Rite Aid, Red Lobster and Quality Dairy were just a few on their list.
“It was way longer than we expected,” Tim Hornsby said. “We were able to find local meat, local bread, local coffee, local chips, even local Coke!” The couple’s children, Henry, 8, and Sarah, 6, said they didn’t mind the sacrifices they had to make in order to eat locally. “I didn’t wanna at first,” Henry Hornsby confessed shyly. “There are some kids at school who eat funny diets and they get made fun of.”
But their lunchboxes weren’t drastically affected. “I could still have local Oreos and local peanut butter and jelly,” Sarah Hornsby smiled as she sipped from a local juice box.
In order to decrease their carbon footprint, the Hornsbys purchased only local gas for their cars, from stations within the one-mile radius. “When you look at things like the BP oil spill and hear about wars over oil in the Middle East, it just makes you realize the benefits of purchasing your gas locally,” Tim Hornsby said.
Upon reaching their one-month goal, the Hornsbys reported a renewed appreciation for food and profound sense of reconnection to agriculture and food producers.
“It feels so great to see where your food comes from, to know that it comes from your community, that the money is staying in your community, and to meet your food producers and form relationships with them,” Elaine Hornsby said.
The family announced that while they might cheat here and there, they plan to stick to a local diet in the future. “We feel fabulous!” exclaimed Elaine Hornsby as she helped herself to a slice of fresh, local pizza and cracked open a cold, local Bud Light.