Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meat is not the only food issue

I read through the Meat Guzzler article posted by Brent earlier today, and I found it all very interesting. The article, as well as other posts related to food, got me thinking about how our food gets places; it doesn't just end up in the grocery store, but I had never really thought about it. So I looked into it.
I found an interesting website called Sustainable Table This one particular article discusses how a concept called a food mile, which is the distance it takes for a piece of produce to go from the farm to your home, works. It compares chain supermarkets to local grocery stores, and the chains' food has to travel 27 times as many miles, on average. The produce at a big grocery store travels an average of 1,500 miles from the farm to us. This is why preservatives and other things are added to help our food make the journey.
In the end, all of those miles our foods travel are aboard some vehicle which runs on fuel. Buying local, as the website suggests, reduces our foods mileage. I had never thought of my food in combination with energy, but it has a lot to do with it. Food is a major part of our lives, we eat a lot of it, which means a lot of food miles traveled and energy consumed.


Cassandra said...

If I weren't single I would try a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

"The basics are: a farmer advertises for consumers to purchase a share of the season's harvest and become members. Members pay a lump sum at the start of the season for weekly boxes of mixed produce, which they pick up on the farm or at a drop spot. The farmer benefits by having operating capital to start the season, the members benefit from getting the freshest possible produce, usually picked the same day. The box is roughly the same size per week, often enough for a family of four, or two vegetarian adults, and a season might cost $300 to $700. There are both summer and winter CSAs."

You can also do farm work. - that's what I would do. I could get some manual labor out of my system and earn my food. It would taste a lot better with that satisfaction.

brent stephens said...


It really is nuts to think of... say... where a lowly little can of tuna came from and how much work went into putting it in my pantry. It can even be frustrating. I feel like local food is a great direction, but unlikely to be picked up by many or with any great success. I think it's too old school for the way we like to live our lives. Hopefully one day we can just be assured that the fuel that drives that can of tuna will come from a decent source.


Candide said...

On the contrary Brent, I think that eating local is slowly becoming en vogue. Being disconnected from our food sources practically ensures that they will come from the "cheapest source," which means they will enjoy cheap oil subsidies. The more we begin to develop our local resources for food production, the less difficult the transition will be as the price of oil rises and transportation becomes more prohibitive. Not to mention that many people feel very stressed by the current, fast pace of life that requires so many cheap, quick meals to keeep it going. You are probably right though in assuming that most individuals will be unwilling or unable to recognize the problem associated with faraway foods until it affects their trip to the grocery store and their pocket book. But really, what more "decent source" can there be than vegetables grown by your own hand or someone you know, or a local steak from a farmer you trust rather than an unknown face with a good ad campaign?
The technological optimism you hope for is totally reckless, with almost no rational basis, and represents a form of denial of the current situation.