We live with an incredible wealth of food choices, and late summer is the most abundant time of all. As you are stocking your pantry this summer, there is something very powerful you can do to improve your health while helping the planet:
Think globally, buy locally.
It’s a fact of life that our food is grown and transported by burning irreplaceable fossil fuels. Synthetic fertilizers are made from natural gas, and the tractors, boats, and trucks that harvest and then move food to your table all burn diesel or gasoline. Did you know that it takes 17 pounds of fossil fuels to transport one pound of asparagus from Chile to your table in the United States?
The concept of “food miles” is really catching on among enlightened shoppers who understand the influence that their purchasing power has on the entire food chain. Miles matter - and lower is better. Locally grown food, especially if it is organic, is fresher and more nutritious as a result. You can taste the difference. And, because locally grown food does not travel as far, it’s also meaningfully better for the global environment.
Ask the manager of your grocery store for more locally-produced foods. Most managers have discretion to bring in and display key items, and it only takes a few requests to make a change. Better yet, go to a farmer’s market and meet the person who grew your food. Buying locally is a practical step toward greater global sustainability.