Monday, April 21, 2008

Chose local foods

Have you ever paid attention to where that jar of peanuts came from? The bag of juicy navel oranges? How about that canister of oats in the cabinet?

Some of the foods we eat everyday come from all over the country and even the world. There's fresh fruit from California, salmon from the Atlantic, crackers from Kansas, and bell peppers from Chile. Of course, it is a tribute to our modern technology and transportation that we can have such easy access to such a variety of products year round.

However, the further a food is from you, the more energy is required to transport it to your local supermarket. Think of the thousands of miles that specialty bottle of olive oil had to travel from Europe! These trips consume gallons and gallons of gasoline, and release harmful air pollutants into our atmosphere.

Next time, when you are looking at cookies, chose the company located closer to your home. Canned beans from Ohio or Siberia? Ohio would be the better bet, unless, of course, you happen to live near Siberia. Many times local products will also be cheaper, reflecting the lesser amount of fossil fuel needed. Produce often will be fresher if bought locally and seasonally as well.

Some people are even taking this philosophy to an extreme, refusing to eat food from outside a certain radius of their home. Check out this website

I'm not advocating such a drastic approach (Of course, you can always give it a try), but truly, such a simple change as scanning the labels of two nearly identical products can make a huge difference. Some specialty products you may find are truly better from a certain location, but for most generic items, you will not notice the different between two brands. But the environment will.

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