[permaculture] The eco-diet ... and it's not just about food miles

lbsaltzman at aol.com lbsaltzman at aol.com
Tue Jun 12 12:12:57 EDT 2007

More thoughts... 

Communities that don't develop local food movements are compromising their security as the peak oil and global warming crisis deepen. 

A higher proportion of food shipped in will be over-packaged.  I can buy fresh vegetables, beyond what I grow myself from local farms that come in recycled bags and egg carts, or I can go to the supermarket and buy days old, organic produce packaged in sealed plastic containers.  The choice is a no-brainer.

Also in my community neighborhood foodsheds are springing up where people trade their home grown food with each other and a potluck dinner has sprung up in a local park. The value of all this for building true community is immeasurable.

-----Original Message-----
From: lbsaltzman at aol.com
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 8:59 am
Subject: Re: [permaculture] The eco-diet ... and it's not just about food miles

This article makes some good points but I think the article takes too narrow a 
iew and is a little superficial.  First of all cutting back on the 2% impact of 
ood travelling long distances does help the environment in general and global 
arming in particular.  Secondly, food travelling long distances is most often 
ndustrial food that is grown in a monoculture land destroying way.  It is part 
f the corporate globalization of everything that is destroying local 
Buying local food movements are more likely to lead the buyers to small organic 
arms which are usually better for the environment and which offer fresher 
ealthier food. The re-localizing food initiative also frequently involves home 
rowers as well. It certainly does in my community.  It also is a community 
uilding, local economy building movement that has many secondary benefits for 
he health of the community.  Re-localizing food also tends to bypass large 
ndustrial food distributors and large box store retail sites.  That is 
efinitely good for the environment and the health of communities.
-----Original Message-----
rom: Saor Stetler <sstetler at earthlink.net>
o: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
ent: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 7:32 am
ubject: [permaculture] The eco-diet ... and it's not just about food miles

The eco-diet ... and it's not just about food miles
 Focus on distance is too narrow, say researchers
'Only 2%' of impact due to transport from farm to shop
ames Randerson, science correspondent
nday June 4, 2007
onsumers need more information about the environmental impact of the food
 their shopping basket if they are to make eco-friendly choices, according
 researchers who have carried out a detailed analysis of the ecological
sts associated with food. They argue that the focus on "food miles" is
ssing the bigger picture and may be counter-productive.
ood stores such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer have said that they will label
oducts that have been transported by air. But according to the
searchers, only around 2% of the environmental impact of food comes from
ansporting it from farm to shop. The vast majority of its ecological
otprint comes from food processing, storage, packaging and growing
nditions. So food grown locally could have a considerably bigger footprint
an food flown halfway around the world, and consumers who make their
oices on air miles alone may be doing more environmental harm, according
 the scientists.
I'm a bit worried about the food miles [debate] because it is educating the
nsumer in the wrong way. It is such an insignificant point," said Ruth
irchild at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff. "Those [foods]
uld have been produced using pesticides that have travelled all the way
ound the world. If you just take food miles, it is the tiny bit on the
 better system, she argues, would be one that considers all environmental
pacts from farm to dinner plate. One option is ecological footprint
alysis, which takes into account the amount of land needed to provide the
sources to produce food, both directly on the farm and indirectly from the
ergy that goes into growing, harvesting, processing, packaging and
ansporting it. A food's impact is measured in "global hectares", the
tional land area needed to produce it. But she thinks that consumers are
t yet ready for ecological footprint labelling and the science behind it
 not yet watertight.
o help confused consumers, Dr Fairchild and colleague Andrea Collins at
rdiff University have used the ecological footprint concept to develop a
t of eco-diets designed to minimise the impact of food consumption on the
anet. Sticking to the diets does not mean eating lentils all day, but the
st eco-friendly diet excludes wine, spirits, chocolate, ice cream and most
at. The study is published in the journal Sustainable Food Consumption.
he diets are based on an analysis of the ecological footprint associated
th the food consumed by the average Cardiff resident in a week. The three
ets are progressively more austere in their ecological footprint, with the
st ascetic allowing only foods with a footprint of less than 0.002 global
ctares per kilogramme. This meant replacing around one in six food items
th less eco-profligate fare which had a similar nutritional makeup . This
et has a 40% lower ecological footprint than the typical Cardiff diet.
ost meat is pushed out of the super-eco-diet because feeding livestock is
ergy intensive. Cheese is also out because of the large amounts of energy
at go into processing it and refrigerating it in storage. The footprint
r wine is just too high, while sprits and chocolate have a per kilogramme
otprint which is around double the cut-off point. Bread, vegetables,
kes, biscuits, eggs, pork, ham, bacon and milk are all acceptable.
 typical day on the diet
reakfast: Cereal and milk, tea/coffee (from weekly allowance half as large
 normal diet)
oast and jam (or marmalade)
unch: Avocado and poached egg with toast
lack-eye bean, rocket and pinenut salad
inner: Spinach, leek and pinenut risotto with yoghurt.
ruit salad
ork cassoulet with mustard, honey and cinnamon, served with green salad.
eet pancakes with jam, honey, tahini, chocolate sauce or yoghurt
rinks/Treats: Two glasses of beer, pack of fruit pastilles, two Jaffa Cakes
ne can cola and nine boiled sweets 

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