Monday, January 19, 2009

Locavore's dilemma

Out of season apple tree.

There are people who want to only eat food grown close to where they live. Say 1 or 200 miles.

Supposedly better for the environment not to ship food around the world.

Well, apples can grow around here, Bellingham, WA., but they get kind of mushy when stored in warehouses for out of season.

In spring, which is not apple season here, we get nice crisp apples shipped in from places like Chile and New Zealand.

To buy local, one would want to make canned apple sauce for the off season. Would that take more energy, cooking the apples for canning than shipping the apples from southern hemisphere?

One would need lots of containers also. Cans are usually tossed after one use even though metal can be recycled.

Glass can be recycled, but how much energy does it take to haul to the recyclers? Glass can also be reused. How much energy does it take to wash out the glass containers for reuse each year?

How much storage do people have? What if one just lives in a studio apartment?

People often try to move out into a rural area so they can grow more of their own food. Then they usually drive more because errands are farther away than living in town.

Dependency on the automobile; weakest link in people's environmental program.

If you need a bigger house to store food, how much energy does it take to refrigerate storage and heat a larger home?

I'm not a locavore when it comes to food, but there are some good things about locavore living. It means doing business with your neighbors, often people you know, rather than producer and consumer being so far apart that there's no personal contact.

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