It appears we were not the only ones to take issue with Mr Bennett's flippant remarks.
The Tyee also has published a lengthy article:
In trying to make the case that 90 per cent of British Columbia's farmland is overprotected, cabinet Minister Bill Bennett took an easy shot at local eaters in his Kootenay East constituency.
"I get a kick out of the 100-mile diet, which is a great idea, except that where I live you'd have to eat hay," he said.
The crack got a laugh from many of the reporters and agriculture industry representatives who gathered last week to hear what the government has in store for the province's 4.7-million hectares in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
But among people working on food sustainability in the East Kootenay, Bennett inspired groans........
While it's true nobody is producing food today on a hugely significant scale within 100 miles of Cranbrook where Bennett lives, the suggestion that there'd be nothing for him but hay when he's famished is surprising and insulting to the many people who do grow food there.
"I was disappointed for sure," said Erna Jensen-Shill, the manager of the Cranbrook Farmers Market. "I was surprised that he wouldn't be aware of the bounty of food that can be grown in this area." .......
"We would also happily extend the invitation for a wonderful meal prepared with locally-grown ingredients," she said. "We could start with braised baby beets and carrots, locally produced cheese, butterling potatoes and pasture-raised Berkshire pork, sweet corn, a salad of summer greens with fresh herb vinaigrette, and for dessert a cherry pie, accompanied by a lovely wine."
The ingredients would all come from within 100 miles of Cranbrook, she said. "But of course, if Mr. Bennett prefers to eat hay, that of course is his prerogative!"........
Farmers work hard to improve the soil, extend the growing season and market their produce, said Windle. "That kind of dedication to the land, to health, and to a true local economy should be encouraged by our government, not belittled and brushed off as a trend."