Friday, June 29, 2007

Day Nine - You Are What You Eat

Buying Locally Grown Produce

It amazes me the things I'm learning about as I continue my little "quest". For example, ever heard of the 100 Mile Diet? When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically travelled at least 1,500 miles—call it "the SUV diet." On the first day of spring, 2005, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon chose to confront this unsettling statistic with a simple experiment. For one year, they would buy or gather their food and drink from within 100 miles of their apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Well, they have a TON (ok 13, reasons) for buying locally, the most compelling one (and the most relevant to this blog) is the fact that a study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a typical diet based on food shipped across the country. That's a lot of oil and gas.

Also, according to WorldWatch.org, ""We are spending far more energy to get food to the table than the energy we get from eating the food. A head of lettuce grown in the Salinas Valley of California and shipped nearly 3,000 miles to Washington, D.C., requires about 36 times as much fossil fuel energy in transport as it provides in food energy when it arrives," Halweil says.

If those reasons don't convince you, just head out to your local farm stand or market and smell a fresh, ripe tomato. The ones in Kroger don't smell like that, baby. That's good eatin. Tonight we had locally grown corn, zucchini and summer squash, all done on the grill with a side of ribs. It tasted like summer should.

So for now, I'm going to try to buy as much local produce as possible. It's delicious and better for the environment. I know exactly where it comes from (we've been to the farm), how it's grown and when it's picked. So yes, we might miss the Granny Smiths during the summer months, but it will be worth the wait when October rolls around and we head to New York to pick a bushel of Honeycrisp at Bieling's Orchard.

SAVINGS:

I found the prices to be about the same as what I was paying in the grocery store. However, I won't be spending extra money on out-of-season and far-shipped fruits, so I'm guessing I'll save a couple sheckles. I'll also be saving an undetermined amount of fuel by not purchasing out-of-state (or out-of-country) foods.

DIFFICULT LEVEL 1 out of 5

Our local farm is only 5 miles away, so it's pretty easy for me. If I had to travel to the downtown Farmer's Market (which is only open Thursday - Sunday) it would be much more difficult, but still worth a try!

1 comment:

gregra&gar said...

I'm surprised that you didn't mention the benefit of reducing allergic reaction to the environment when your food comes from the same environment. Allergies were quite rare until the agri-transport business got into full swing. Mother's milk and home grown for allergy free life.