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Buy Local Produce

The Daily Greening



Today I ate some spinach in a lovely salad my wife made.  Last week I ate a bagged spinach salad that a friend brought over for a meal (on a side note, you always know who your friends are when they start to bring your food after a baby is born).  Both tasted similar and filled me up just the same, but there was a huge difference between the two.  One was green and one was not.  So what is the lesson learned?

BUY LOCAL!

Use Fresh, Use Local



The spinach contained in my salad came from a farmers' market where local farmers sold it directly to my wife.  (The farm is actually only a couple miles from my house.)  The packaged spinach came from a supermarket and a different state.   The big difference between the two is the distant traveled and fuel used to transport.  The average distance that corporate food travels between the farm, packaging, distribution and finally to your local grocer is 1,500 miles.  In the industry this is known as “food miles,” and when the number increases so do the fossil fuels.  Think big "food miles" if the food comes from a foreign nation, such as Chilean fruit.  Thus, to reduce your carbon footprint simply buy local foods.

I know that many of you can not go to farmers' markets on a regular basis because of time or distance.  Does this mean you are up a creek without a paddle in respect to local foods?  No.  As of September 2008, all produce must include a country of origin label.  Simply look at the label next to the produce or on the bag and buy your closest option.  Washington may not be the best green choice for folks in New Jersey, but it sure beats Chile any day.