Al Gore isn't the only person anymore who's talking about global warming and the impact of fossil fuel consumption on our planet. We are constantly being encouraged to drive less, buy a hybrid car if you can, use smarter light bulbs, and keep our air conditioners set at higher temperatures than we used to.
Now it's becoming clear that you can make a real difference by changing the source of the foods you eat. It's simple. Food in grocery stores travels an average of 1,500 to 2,500 miles to get to you, usually by truck or plane. This requires fossil fuels. By the time a bag of salad mix is grown, washed, packaged, chilled, and shipped across country to the East Coast from a farm in California, 4,600 calories of fossil fuels are spent. Because salad mix is low in calories, that's 57 petroleum calories spent for every calorie of food energy consumed. Higher calorie content foods bring the overall average down to 7 calories of fossil fuel burned per calorie of energy in food.
So what can you do? While we are likely to buy many foods shipped to us in certain seasons of the year, buying fresh fruits and vegetables from local sources whenever available can reduce the use of fossil fuels by reducing the miles the food traveled and eliminating packaging. Also, freshly picked local food is more nutritious and tastes better. Head to your local farmers' market and pick up a half pound of fresh carrots with the bright green tops still attached for this week's recipe.
- 1/2 pound fresh carrots, grated with a box grater or food processor
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (that local Meyer lemon tree comes through again)
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chives, minced coarsely
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Mix everything in a bowl and season to taste.