“Where should I buy my groceries?”
That sounds like a pretty silly question, doesn’t it? Food comes from the grocery store…right?
Well…not always. Not for me, anyway, and perhaps not for you either.
I used to think that Kroger, Publix, and Ingles were where you got your food…apples and asparagus in the produce section, tilapia and shrimpses (highly technical term) in the seafood section of the meat department, ground beef and pork chops from the butcher counter, cheese in the plastic wrappers in between the milk and the eggs in the dairy section, bread from…you get the idea. I figgered food came from the supermarket.
Let me stop ya’ right there. NO, I don’t think they have cows in the back room. I’m from a small rural town and I do know what a corn field looks like. It just never occurred to me that those middlemen between the farmer and me were unnecessary AND, to be honest, bad for me nutritionally and bad for the planet in how the food got from farm to plate.
While we are touching on green-ness, let me say I’m not a greenie, I don’t hug trees, and the only PETA organization I’m interested in is People Eating Tasty Animals. Al Gore’s global warming, now called climate change (since this year seems so much cooler that last year), is full of bulls**t, and you can quote me on that.
I’m a fiscally conservative, socially libertarian (except the abortion thing) independent who simply thinks God gave us this wonderful place we call earth, and we should be good stewards of His gift to us.
Off my soapbox…
…until the next time.
So, how is supermarket food bad for you and bad for the planet? Well, all of it isn’t…but a lot of it is.
Did you know that fully 30% of the oil used in this country is used to put food on your table? 30%…that’s a LOT of oil…and a lot of it is waste just so we can have what we want when we want it, without regard for its true cost.
Here’s another surprise bit of food trivia for you. Did you know that the average bite of food…yes, that bite you are about to put in your mouth…I see you…the average bite of food travels over 1600 miles from the farm to your plate?
Here’s some evidence my “green-ness, to whatever extent I have any, is rooted in common sense, not eco-nut silliness. Let me debunk one lie told by the crazies when they try to come up with evidence the sky is falling, oil-wise, partly due to agriculture:
“Petroleum based fertilizer” is a myth.
Agriculture uses, and wastes, a lot of fossil fuel…a LOT of it…it wastes enough to contribute to high oil prices and spot shortages, but the eco-nut claims, that a lot of oil is going into fertilizer, is hysteria designed to whip up support for their agenda, and is a lie. Want proof?
Have you ever eaten broccoli that tasted like an oil well? I didn’t think so. ‘Nuff said.
Sure, that’s ridiculous proof…but no more ridiculous than the original “petroleum based fertilizer” claim in the first place. Google it…see if I am wrong.
So, if a lot of petroleum is wasted on agriculture, and fertilizer doesn’t do it, what does?
Well, first there is that 1600 mile trip your food takes from farm to table…that’s a lot of transport cost…and a lot of diesel fuel.
Then there is production costs for crops the government pays to have thrown away. Yep…you read right…crops grown that the government PAYS to have grown, in subsidies for corporate agriculture, that everyone knows will never see market. That means double waste…the fuel used to plant, care for, and harvest the crop, and your tax dollars paying for the government subsidy of that waste.
Right now you should be feeling warm and fuzzy about your government…
I live in rural Georgia, but I understand SOME of the apparent waste…like SOME of the shipping, I understand Central Park is not going to be plowed up to plant crops to feed New York City residents, and I understand that the Hudson River where “Sully” Sullenberger (a true hero) landed USAirways flight 1549 is not the ideal location for an aquaculture project to raise Tilapia, but…
Why do we in Georgia, the PEACH STATE, import peaches from California!???!?
Why does Florida, with lobsters of its own, waste fuel importing Maine lobsters??!?!?
It does take diesel fuel to get those lobsters to Florida and the rest of the country ya know…ever seen a lobster hitchhiking south on I-95 in Jersey? I didn’t think so.
So…is there a solution? Well, there IS at least a partial one…eat local.
“Whatchoo talkin’ about, Willis?” (Gary Coleman, “diff’rent Strokes” if you’re old enuf’),
“I eat at my dining room table. That IS local!”
I’m talkin’ about eating foods that are, as much as is practicable, produced locally…I’m talkin’ about becoming a “localvore”, eating foods grown and raised as “local” as possible to where you live.
Eating local can be a bit of a challenge…at first. If you do all your shopping at Publix you don’t know anyone with a small flock of laying hens…you don’t know a farmer that will sell you and a friend a cow to share for grass-fed beef…and what are you supposed to do with a live cow anyway? It won’t fit in the back seat of a mini-van…
…and…and…and…its so EXPENSIVE to eat that way…and OMG…I’ll have to actually COOK!
Slow Down! Head between your knees…deep breaths…there ya go, you’ll be OK…
No one is suggesting you become a total health-nut, eco-crazie, localvore who refuses to eat ANYTHING grown more than 10 miles from their doorstep…not right away anyway…LOL
Ease into it. Do as much or as little as you are comfortable with. You may never buy a side or quarter of beef. You may never buy your pork a whole pig at the time.
Given a bit of time though, you can find a local farm market, usually open weekends during summer/fall.
Given a bit of time you will find the lady a couple of miles out of town with a small laying flock who picks up a few dollars selling eggs.
Given a bit of time you’ll learn to like…love even…eating in season…you don’t REALLY want strawberries in February, do you?
And…given a bit of time…you’ll find yourself asking, “What took me so long?”
You’ll find benefits you never dreamed of…the taste of a homegrown tomato instead of those hothouse tomatos at the grocery store, grown for shipping durability, not taste…the taste of a free range egg that tastes like…AN EGG!…and that has more nutrition, including an incredible amount of Omega3 fatty acids, than any commercially produced egg you have ever eaten…the texture of fresh asparagus, or baby spinach…
You’ll learn where to get local raw honey, and find that the taste of the commercially produced stuff doesn’t come close.
You’ll find what REAL food looks like… smells like…TASTES like… you’ll find that you feel better, both because the food is better for you and because you are glad to cut out at least part of those 1600 mile trips the average bite of food takes.
Get your strawberries in the summer like…like…like a LOCAVORE!