Casa Beebe

Petroleum Food – Eat Local 3

Happy Wednesday!

Welcome to the third installment of eating local! Let’s dive in.

Each food item in a typical US meal has traveled an average of 1500 miles.

If every US citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That’s not gallons, but barrels.
Both quotes are from Steven L. Hopp, co-author of “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” (2007), a book about one family’s year of locavore eating.
An *incredible* book. I cannot recommend it enough!
I don’t know about you, but when I read statistics like that I am just amazed at how much our oil dependence goes way beyond SUV’s and industrial uses.
Another quote, from the same essay:
Americans put almost as much fossil fuel into our refrigerators as our cars. We’re consuming about 400 gallons of oil a year per citizen – about 17% of our nation’s energy use – for agriculture, a close second to our vehicular use. …Even bigger gas guzzlers … are not the machines, but so called inputs. Synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides use oil and natural gas as their starting materials” (Hopp, 2007)
I find these statistics to be shocking; truly shocking. We already know that our food is covered in pesticides, but now we know that the pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers and herbicides start out as oil and natural gas! Do you want to eat that? What kind of harm is that doing to our bodies?!
I was talking with Chris tonight after starting to re-read this book. I told him that if I had to pick a label for myself in regards to food, be it vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, raw foodie, paleo diet follower, atkins, or what have you, I would choose to label myself as a locavore. I don’t like labels, but if I had to pick one, that is the one that feels most comfortable on my shoulders.
It is something that I have been trying to come to terms with over the years, with my weight struggles, and personal want to eat healthier, nutritionally better, food. I have struggled with how to incorporate my wants and needs, and I think that locavore, seasonal type eating is what fits me best. It addresses, for me, many of the values I need to honor and support.
I do not feel that giving up meat is necessary. Humans have consumed meat for thousands of years. Anthropologically, the change from Homo Erectus to Homo Sapien, including a tremendously larger brain size, is thought to be a direct result of increased protein consumption (read: meat). 
There is also the unclear argument of environmental impact. The vegetarian camp says if we stop eating meat we will stop creating pollution in our environment related to the growth and slaughter and shipment of meat. The carnivore camp says that if we quit eating meat the planet will be overrun with explosive populations of animals. I see the validity to both arguments. For me the locavore movement solves both problems.
If I eat meat grown on a local farm, raised by a local farmer and butchered by a local butcher I am not contributing to the massive pollution created by huge feedlots and CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations-if you don’t know what a CAFO is you need to find out!!). I am also preventing an over population of animals.
I want to point out here that I am not anti-vegetarian in any way. It is just not the right path for me right now. I completely support, and do not judge, anyone on their personal diet choices. Other than the fact that I want you to consider eating more locally! Ha! I still wont judge you, though.
The world is a scary place today. We will, eventually, run out of fossil fuels to support the current status quo of food production, along with all the other personal and industrial uses of petroleum, worldwide. Our international “friendships” with other countries are being strained. Our economic situation, and reliance upon foreign oil, is a staggeringly huge problem, and is only likely to get worse. Realistically, US soil does not have enough oil available to us to combat this problem long term. Our only option is to find ways to decrease our petroleum usage.
One way, one very tangible and simple way, is to choose to find ways to eat more locally. I only hope that by making these choices daily in my life that I am somehow off-setting some of our environmental impact and petroleum consumption. The irony does not escape me that Chris and I are avid motorsport enthusiasts, drive an SUV and have a boat with a big, gas guzzling motor.
Perhaps it is just a feel-good measure, but it does make me “feel better” to know that when it comes to my food, at least, I am trying to make an impact. I’m far from perfect, and not all the food I eat is locally produced, but at least I am aware and attempting to make informed choices about what I eat and where it comes from.
On the locavore menu for Tuesday: my typical breakfast (I am sometimes such a boring eater, I save my interesting food for dinner), which included local blueberries (Fox Run Farm) and local yogurt..
Like this…only with blueberries instead of raspberries.
Lunch was a mater sammich with maters from my own garden. YAY!
Dinner was 100% local. Locally caught salmon, purchased from The Butcher Shop, locally grown corn, purchased directly from a local farm (Fox Run Farm in Medford), and canteloupe from my own little back yard garden! Oh..the wine was local, too. Troon Vineyard 2006 Red Wine.
Tonights dinner palette brought to you by the color orange….
In Chris’ lunch he had peppers, cherry tomatoes and carrots from the garden to snack on, along with home made zucchini muffins with zucchini from the garden.
Do you worry about petroleum and pesticides in your food? Or do you have a different food concern? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!
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2 comments on “Petroleum Food – Eat Local 3

  1. Corrie
    September 14, 2011

    I am a firm believer in happy mediums! I will agree with that, that people could stand to eat less meat. I forget that so many people in this country still are strictly "meat n potatoes" (and crap-food) type eaters, because that is not how *I* eat everyday. Just like I don't eat every food from a local source…but do try to be aware of my choices. The awareness is key, I think. I'm glad you posted…I kinda wondered if this post might jog a response from you, my friend! 🙂

  2. Jenn
    September 14, 2011

    People have to eat significantly less meat though, and rely more on a plant based diet, because there is not enough land for the meat to be grown locally AND humanely and support the current demand, thus the CAFOs. There needs to be a happy medium. Otherwise, locavoreism is awesome! 🙂

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This entry was posted on September 14, 2011 by in food, garden, health.
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