Do you know where your food comes from?
It is estimated that food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. That means you can get a variety of foods any place, any time, but sometimes at a cost to the environment: transportation requires fossil fuel and emits greenhouse gasses.
A common term in the study of sustainable nutrition is “food miles” - meaning how far your food travels before you buy it - and is one reason to eat locally produced foods, with fewer food miles equating to a shorter route from farm to table. You can even calculate them yourself here.
Buy locally when possible. First, ask questions at the grocery store – which vegetables are grown in state? Which chicken or pork is raised locally? Information is also readily available online about farmers’ markets, farm stands, and local egg, meat or poultry shares. There are probably also gardening opportunities in your area, even if you don’t have room in your own yard. If you do not find the information you need online, call a local extension agent for advice on how to grow or find your favorite foods.
While I advocate for and support eating locally, I also know that some foods are shipped from afar when they are not available locally, and that makes sense when it would take more resources to grow locally (e.g. water, soil amendments) than it currently takes to ship that produce in. If you really want to make an impact, you may choose to avoid any foods that cannot be grown or raised locally; how much do you love those avocados and pineapples? The choice is yours.
Just One Thing to do: Look for locally grown and raised food in your grocery store, farmers’ market and farm stands.
Just One More Thing to do: Consider buying a share of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)! Find great information and resources here.