Make your food travel fewer miles
August 14, 2009
By: Crystal Nguyen
Have you ever stopped to think about where your food comes from? If you ask a child where milk comes from, she or he may say, “The grocery store.” Yes, that is true. Milk does come from the store, but the store gets it from dairy farms. These farms raise cows then get milk from the cows. Some of us may not know exactly where milk or food really comes from. Where do our fruits and vegetables come from? Fruits and vegetables usually have a sticker on them. The sticker tells you where it was grown. You may be amazed to see that the fruit you are holding came from New Zealand or Chile. Or, the vegetable that you are going to eat is from Mexico.
Food did not use to travel that far. But, now food can travel about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store. Since we live in California, the distance from Florida or New Zealand is really far. We know from news reports that the price of oil has gone up. That means the price of gas has also gone up. When our food travels from coast-to-coast or from overseas, it makes the price of food more expensive. Not only the cost of food is affected, the environment is affected too. About 61 million pounds of greenhouse gases are pumped into the air from transporting food per year. Some of us may not have thought that buying fruit from overseas may contribute to polluting the Earth.
The good news is that there are Earth friendly tips you can follow to help the environment and still have good fruits and vegetables on your table.
1. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season: The prices are lower and the food is fresher. They were probably grown close to your town and picked at the peak of ripeness.
2. Read the stickers: Know where you food is coming from.
3. Shop at local farmer’s markets: The food sold at farmer’s markets is grown close by. Log onto http://www.sdfarmbureau.org/ or call 760-745-3023 for the nearest farmer’s market in San Diego County.
4. Plant your own garden: Enjoy your own fruits and vegetables from your backyard or patio. Log onto http://www.harvestofthemonth.com/web-links.asp for ideas to start your garden.
This material was produced by the California Department of Public Health’s Network for a Healthy California, with funding from the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly the Food Stamp Program). These institutions are equal opportunity providers and employers. In California, food stamps provide assistance to low-income households, and can help buy nutritious foods for better health. For food stamp information, call 877-847-3663. For important nutrition information visit www.cachampions forchange.net