Monday, October 11, 2010

A Campaign for Local Food

Local Aqua Fresca - Refreshing!

Recently Chris and I helped out with a campaign fundraising party for a candidate who supports local eating.  We assisted in developing a menu for the event and Chris prepared some of the food while I compared the distance our food traveled with the distance food would typically travel for a party.  Here's what we did and a comparison:

The campaign menu consisted of:
1.  Aqua Fresca (Two flavors of water infused with local peaches, cucumber and herbs from local gardens)
2.  Bean dip and Lavosch Crackers (Made with pinto beans and wheat from a Kansas farmer)
3.  Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil H'orderves (Tomato and basil from local gardens, mozzarella made with fresh milk from a dairy in Hesston)

Farthest distance traveled:  37 miles (for the milk)

A typical menu may consist of:
1.  Aqua Fresca (Peaches from Somewhere, USA and cucumbers from Mexico)
2.  Hummus and pita (Made with garbanzo beans from the Mediterranean and what from ???)
3.  Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil H'orderves (All items from Somewhere, USA)

Farthest distance traveled:  6013 miles* (if the beans came from Athens, but it's hard to know for sure)

Local Flavor
 I went to the grocery store to research the origins of many of the typical menu items, but produce stickers don't indicate a state, just the country (USA, Mexico, etc.)  In my research, I found that the method of transportation impacts the amount of fuel used.  Transportation by sea is extremely efficient while air travel is very inefficient, but how do you figure that out?  Does the produce guy know if his produce traveled first class on a plane, or had a port hole window on a ship?  In comparison, you can ask the farmer at the local market where the produce came from. 

I didn't get distances for all items involved, due to lack of information on the label.  It's difficult to figure out where a food comes from unless you know the producer of the food, and we all know how to do that, right?

Who is this candidate that supports local production of food? Find out in my next post...

*Distance is the theoretical air distance

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