In the Kitchen (and garden)
World Watch reports that the ingredients for a meal in the average North American home typically travel between 930 to 2,485 miles, a 25% increase from 1980 alone. This average meal uses up to 17 times more petroleum products and produces 17 times the carbon dioxide emissions, compared to a local meal.
Local foods travel a significantly shorter distance to your doorstep. This means that fruits and vegetables will arrive naturally ripe, fresh and more flavorful! The shorter distance also reduces the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation of goods.
- St. Louis Farmers Markets Eat Local by learning where in St. Louis you can get the produce you want in a convenient, affordable way.
- Farm Fresh Love berries, apples and peaches? You'll want to head straight to the source. This site's farm directory lists Missouri Farms and their products.
At the Store
Grocery stores are not all made the same. When shopping, look for signs and labels, or ask the produce manager about the products. Foods in season are more likely to be locally produced, and the prices of organic foods are coming down as the demand for organic produce increases.
Reduce Waste from the Source
When shopping, remember to look for items with minimal packaging. Less packaging means less materials to be extracted, processed, and transported – all of which are energy-draining activities. Buy less stuff, buy higher quality durable products and don't forget your reusable shopping bags.
Buying used is another way to reduce waste. Visit second-hand stores, yard sales or online resale sites for great deals, while at the same time rescuing items from the landfill.
Avoid Pesticides, Go Organic
A study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers found that food transport accounts for 11% of food-associated greenhouse gas emissions, while production contributes a whopping 83%. Specifically, nitrous oxide and methane (mainly byproducts of fertilizer use, manure management and animal digestion) make up a huge piece of the emissions pie. So it makes climate sense to go for organically grown foods as well as local.
Know the Best Foods to Buy Organic
Peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, imported grapes and pears make up the list of the top ten fruits and veggies that are best to eat organic. Incidentally, foods with the least amount of pesticides are onions, avocados, frozen sweet corn, cabbage, pineapples, mangoes, frozen sweet peas, asparagus, kiwis and bananas.
Check out Food News by the Environmental Working Group.
East Less Meat
Did you know that raising livestock for food creates more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars and trucks in the world combined? Trees are cleared for pasture land, animals create methane and nitrous oxide and processing and transportation burns fuel. According to the United Nation's Environment Program, it takes 25 to 35 lbs of grain to produce 1 lb of red meat. Try eating meat less often. Need ideas? Search the infinite number of vegetarian recipes online for inspiration.
Grow your Own
Is your backyard or balcony looking empty? Why not transform it into a green space - a salad greens space that is! Grow your own vegetables, herbs and fruits and have garden fresh produce all year around! Save time, money and the environment by using natural yard-care techniques. Check out the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Earthways Center.