Monday, 3 May 2010

browsing: food carbon

It's my custom of a morning to spend a little time after breakfast browsing online. Oftentimes it's research into what we're doing on the farm, or in the kitchen, but I also read Mother Jones, Grist, Culinate and the Climate Desk. An article on Mother Jones led me this morning to a Carbon Calculator for food. Really for the US market (for example our coffee and sugar is local, our wheat is imported, but in the main this is reversed for the States), it can only serve as a very general guide, but it is interesting.

Seemingly 30 plus percent of all greenhouse gases generated in the States comes from food production, the premise of this calculator (and a number of other sites and articles I've seen recently), is to help reduce this percentage by reducing food waste, making conscious choices and cooking efficiently. There's a danger of becoming puritanical, or of stressing oneself out so much that one can no longer do anything, but taken as a starting point for a more conscious approach to how one takes one's food it seems like a good thing.

What's more this particular calculator has come from a company which manages many college and university on campus cafeterias: this in itself is heartening news.

According to their data, our breakfast of wholewheat oatmeal pancakes with orange syrup and coffee produced 700 grams of carbon. Now I need to find out what that means! How do I sequester that? Yesterday we planted two clove, 3 gnetum, a moringa and a jackfruit tree. We started some purslane cuttings, transplanted basil, sowed some papaya and sapote seeds. I weeded a couple of beds and thinned out tomato starts - what does that do to my carbon footprint?

To me, no matter how I cut it, it comes down to living simply and deriving a lot of pleasure from simple living. I'm truly blessed by being able to grow some of my own food and by having a good variety of local foods to buy. If I was living in the city I would be more frantic about growing as much as I could, or refusing to eat any other green but the sprouts I could grow on my windowledge.

Living lightly, living simply, practicing moderation has to become the way forward, or I have to stop reading the news completely.

1 comment:

thanks for sharing!