Food miles: Another tragic aspect of modern life.
Last week I had to travel from Merlin in Southern Oregon up to Portland, a round-trip distance of 480 miles. The vast majority of the journey was along Highway I5, most of which is a 2-lane highway, significantly harder driving than a 3 or more laned highway.
It was the first time I had driven North along I5 since Jean and I moved to Merlin last October. What staggered me were the huge number of trucks on the highway, many of them food trucks from California and beyond. Also noticed at regular intervals were very large industrial buildings that were described as food distribution centres.
Another connection to today’s reflections is that I am about 50 pages into Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. The book is the account of Barbara’s family spending a year deliberately eating home-grown and local food. The book’s subtitle is ‘A Year of Food Life‘ and, inevitably, the book has a website here.
So the book and the journey to Portland got me thinking about food miles and the huge transport distances of so much of what we eat today.
Jean and I were incredibly lucky when we bought this property last year to discover that it had a mature vegetable garden surrounded by a deer-proof fence, as the following photograph partially shows.
So even before considering the food miles we are saving from ‘grow-your-own’, we were enthusiastically planting a whole variety of vegetables. Here’s a rhubarb plant that went in last Saturday.
Anyway, I’m rather meandering along – anyone still awake!
The whole point of this long introduction is to highlight a fabulous film that we have watched over the weekend. Called Edible City: Grow The Revolution we came across it on Top Documentary Films, great source of films by the way if you don’t know it.
Luckily it is on YouTube as well.
Here’s the full film:
It’s an inspiring account of what it means for a community to take control of their food, ergo a strong recommendation to watch it in full.
If you want a taste of the film (pardon the pun!), here are two trailers.
plus much more information from the film’s website.
So why don’t you join the millions of people already buying from their local Farmers’ Market. For the USA you can find your nearest market using this website and for the United Kingdom try the Local Foods website.
Not only will it give you access to much healthier food, it is a very practical way of reducing our use of energy.