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Don’t Drive Your Sport Utility Vehicle to The Farmers’ Market

Posted Aug 26 2008 1:46pm

Don’t drive your sport utility vehicle to the farmers’ market, buy one food item and drive home again. Even if you are using reusable bags.

So starts this article, If It’s Fresh and Local, Is It Always Greener? in The New York Times . For those of you not terminally hip, eating local, that is trying to consume only foods grown and manufactured within a reasonable distance from your home, to reduce travel time and therefore one’s carbon footprint… is in.

The trend even has a name. Practitioners call themselves “locavores” .

Now it turns out the science is not clear. How unusual.

While the research is not yet complete, Tom Tomich, director of the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, said the fact that something is local doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better, environmentally speaking.

The distance that food travels from farm to plate is certainly important, he says, but so is how food is packaged, how it is grown, how it is processed and how it is transported to market.

In general, the argument boils down to not only where the food product was grown but, in the case of animals what it was fed. Grass raised cattle use fewer non-renewable resources than grain fed. How it was transported; trains and ships are more efficient than planes or, as at the typical farmer’s market, pick-up trucks.

And finally, exactly how fuel efficient are consumers who travel from Wild Oats, to Costco, to the Farmers Market to Trader Joes to their local grocery their Cadillac escalades REALLY being.

This of course supports my Not-Quite-Crunchy lifestyle argument. Do what you can to live green. Don’t be smug about it!

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