Thursday, September 28, 2006

Another Reason to Eat Locally...

There's a website called the 100 Mile Diet. The goal, obviously is to support local agriculture and avoid the waste that occurs when food has to be shipped all over the country. According to the website, When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically travelled at least 1,500 miles.

The article linked in my title is found at kidshealth.org and talks about the recent problems with spinach and E Coli. Scientists were able to track the outbreak to "somewhere in california". Since california produces a huge percent of our food, that's not a real shocker, nor is it really much help in controlling future outbreaks. The question is asked, why is such a huge spinach crop grown in california when spinach is such an easy crop to grow in most any climate? We can grow spinach in Utah, but instead we ship it all the way from california. If crops were grown and consumed locally, any E coli outbreak would be easily contained, because we would know where the outbreak came from.

I also found in interesting in the kidshealth article that we know that raising cows in such large quantities can lead to a dangerous spread of E Coli. We also know that eating high amounts of beef leads to health problems. Obesity in children is an epidemic. Despite what we "know", we can't stand the thought of paying more for our hamburgers, or the idea of cutting back on how much we eat.

Moderation in all things is good and well, just don't mess with my triple cheeseburger. It's the American Way!

2 comments:

NatGo said...

I would be fine with the 100 mile diet, because there is an Atlantis Burger only 1.3 miles from my house. Malt-o-meal cereal has a plant in Tremonton. The fake Cap'n Crunch is my fave.

I know - I'm being silly.

Emily said...

And likewise there have been relatively few e coli spinach outbreaks in CA because we send all our diseased spinach to other states. Actually I don't know if this is true of spinach (probably not), but I know that CA imports from afar a lot of the same food that it grows and exports to other places.

Our Co-op members recently voted in favor of starting to sell meat in the store. It's been a big debate and hullaballoo. In the course of the debate I toured the Farm Sanctuary in a nearby town where they have rescued abandoned and sick livestock (cows, goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens, and some rabbits) and nursed them back to health to live out their days in comfort. They are quite tame for the most part. Fun to pet the cows and pigs. On Thanksgiving they have a big dinner for the turkeys, not of the turkeys, featuring cranberries and risotto and sweet potatoes, all the things the turkeys like. Most of them were debeaked at the factory farm that discarded them so they have funny, stubby beaks.

The point is, I left there grateful that I have options to the horrors of factory farming without having to become a vegetarian. I can look these animals in the eye and still think about eating them, but I can't support the factory farm "Meatrix" any more if I can help it. My cow / elk / buffalo must have grass to graze to the extent possible. I voted Yes on the meat question because I'm hoping my store can offer those of us who are hopelessly omnivorous some good alternatives to the factory farm, especially for those folks who aren't inclined to hunt or inclined to raid the hunter's freezer from time to time.