As a participant in Food TV's The 100 Mile Challenge, Randy Hawes committed to adopt the popular diet for 100 days. But, in an interview with Public Eye Radio, the minister of state for mining said he personally would oppose government supporting for that diet, preferring market forces do that work. And he questioned whether it's more environmentally-friendly than other ways of eating.
"The 100 Mile Diet is great for sourcing local foods so you get fresher food, you get no preservatives in it and it actually helps, I think the local farmer if you can buy from the farm gate. But if you've got to get in the car and drive for miles to find a block of cheese that's made locally or a bunch of radishes - you name it - you're not really not saving a heck of a pile on your carbon footprint, I don't happen to think," Minister Hawes explained.
"And I know many of the six families, I think everyone experienced having to get in their car and drive some distance to source food - food that would be available almost within walking distance down at the supermarket. So is it less of a carbon footprint to have food brought in in large quantities in a truck? Is there less carbon emitted per kilo of carrots, for example, then there would be if you had to drive a long distance yourself to buy some. I don't know. I don't think there's a huge saving in carbon footprint."
Minister Hawes also stated it's not a healthier diet either because many foods recommended by nutritionists aren't available within 100 miles. But he rejected a suggestion government should intervene to change that, placing his confidence in the market. "Consumers shifts happen when people start to shop with their feet. When they stop going into the grocery store to buy any particular product, the grocery store reacts by giving the public what it wants."
That being said though, Minister Hawes stated he also believes "the whole concept and theory of eating as much as possible locally is grabbing force. And the public is starting to demand fresher food here."