sustainable food issues ...
Taking Challenges and Turning them into Opportunities.
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We depend on oil for our food, housing, transportation....literally everything. For one calorie of food, it takes 10 calories of energy to produce it. Oil is used to plow the fields, fertilize, and transport our food to the market. Obviously, the further away the food is grown, the more energy is needed to get it to our tables. About one-fifth of all U.S. energy use goes into the food system.
We have grown accustomed to a wide variety of exotic foods with year round vegetables grown in someone else's summer season and flown to our stores. With oil based fertilizers and pesticides, we are also used to perfection....no blemishes or irregularities and all at extremely reasonable prices due to large factory-styled farms and migrant labor that helps to minimize costs.
Local growers often have a difficult time competing, and are almost never allowed shelf space in the larger grocery stores. Even the phenomenal popularity rise of organic foods sold in national chains like Whole Foods and Wild Oats (certainly a step in the right direction) makes it difficult for local growers to compete with the large California growers.
As energy prices ultimately climb, we will recognize the huge impact that fuel has on food prices and availability. We will desperately need our local growers and farmers in order to keep food on our grocery store shelves. But will they still be around? As CE Pugh of La Montañita Coop mentioned at a recent MRCOG meeting on agricultural sustainability, "we have seen many good quality growers and farmers simply disappear."
Thankfully, we DO have access to our locally grown fruits, veggies, meats and more through a flourishing chain of growers markets throughout the city. Selling directly to you and me means that prices can be competitive. La Montañita Coop has also pledged to increase support for local growers. Supporting these growers and retail outlets NOW ensures they will still be around when we need them. See Local Food Sources.
Focusing on localization and sustainability, will not only help us keep food prices reasonable in the future, reduce emissions from transportation, help make our country more secure, but also will strengthen our local economy and keep our growers in business. Another one of those WIN-WIN propositions.
PLEASE be a part of the solution. mysuggestions@sustainableabq