Monday, June 29, 2009

Sneak Peak at the Heritage Festival

Hopefully by now, we all know that the planet is our responsibility and it is our job as humans to do what we can to keep this planet clean- we only have one, remember.
So to that end, this little brochure was created. In case you weren’t aware, some of the food you buy in the grocer has traveled farther in its life than you will in yours. Globalization brings not only cheap toys and cheap labor, but also cheap food. For climates like Ohio, where our growing season is limited, fresh produce is now available from all over the western hemisphere. Strawberries in December. Tomatoes in February. Whatever you want, whenever you want it.
But what’s the real cost? We know that travel takes gasoline and creates carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. We’re learning about alternative transportation and driving less. But what about your food? Can you limit how far your food travels? YES!
Eating locally and in season not only lessens how far your food has to travel, but ensures fresher food, less carbon dioxide, often healthier food (fewer nutrients lost in over-ripe food), less food waste, fewer chemicals to preserve your food for shipping, and more money kept in the local economy. For items bought at a chain store like Target or Walmart, 43 cents of every dollar stays in our community. For items bought at a locally owned store, 67 cents of every dollar stays here. For food bought direct from a local company, that number is ever higher.
Take a moment to think about what impact your diet has on the planet

A note about this information

The purpose of this is to look at and compare a diet consisting of local food, and one consisting of standard fare on the basis of food miles and ecological footprint. It does not consider cost, organic or conventional, nutrition, or any other aspect- just the carbon produced transporting your food.
What I’ve done is create a fairly basic menu for one day, using all ingredients that can be obtained easily as either local or standard variations. The menu is approximately 2200 calories, so there is room to cut calories (and carbon), or indulge in a longer after-dinner walk. I took a larger daily calorie limit so I could make sure to compare the upper limits, not a low figure.
There are plenty of concerns with food, its production, distribution, and the practices of the producers- figuring food miles is just one part of the puzzle, but it is a place to start thinking about our food and discussing some of these other paradigms as well.
All food miles were calculated using simple food miles (from the point of origin of end product to point of consumption), although the weighted average ingredient method proposed by the Leopold Center for Sustainability gives a more accurate number.
All information on how these numbers were calculated, sources for statistics, or other information you might want, as well as answers to questions, can be gotten by emailing me at

The Menu
Breakfast- Granola, yogurt, tea, dried fruit, milk.

Lunch- Sandwich (meat, bread, lettuce, cheese), fruit snack, water, carrot sticks.

Dinner- Noodles with mushroom sauce, salad, asparagus, strawberry rhubarb pie, wine.

The Grocery Lists
Saxonburg, PA (MN)
Wooster (WI)
Columbus Grove (China)
Akron (MN)
Dried fruit
Hiram (Westley, CA)
Hopedale (NC)

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