In search of the truth, Special Agents William Neal and Patrick Cuccaro explore the mysterious Green world of sustainable special events and catering. What myths will they shatter? What will they uncover?
The Truth is out there…so we’re told.
In Episode 3, William and Patrick asked: “Can green be SEXY?“, and they proved that it could be, judging by William’s date night! But, the 3,000-plus mile trip that a Washington apple takes before reaching your plate doesn’t sound like the journey William’s apple took last week, does it?
The American desire to have access to all types of fruits and vegetables year-round may be one of our biggest Green challenges. Today, our Special Agents further explore why understanding “food miles” might be important to you and your family.
PATRICK: My head has been spinning all week. I thought this Special Agent gig was going to settle a lot of issues for me—not create new ones.
I had pretty much decided that organically grown produce is better than conventional locally grown produce, based solely on the nutrition and health issues. And now you tell me that the United States cultivates only 2% of its fields organically, and that my organic apple might have had to travel halfway across the country before it lands in my hand.
Can you say petro chemicals? Can you say big ol’ carbon footprint? Uh-oh!
WILLIAM: Exactly. Balancing our health concerns, there’s this huge environmental bear-in-the-corner called “food miles“. Floating food across the ocean, flying it through the air and driving it across our roads create an over-sized carbon footprint. Even a casual “road trip” can be a factor.
This past fall, my boys and I took a drive up into the mountains. It was an awesome day with killer weather and a crispness in the air that reminded me of biting into a crisp fall apple. We passed dozens of roadside stands that had apples calling our names!
One of my sons said, “Hey Daddy, why did we have to drive all the way up here for apples?” So for the sake of keeping this educational and enlightening, I won’t bore you with details, but we had an entire conversation about food miles…at a six year old’s level, that is!
Getting down–or some may say “up”–to his level brought it home to me how the daily choices that we make can contribute to massive accumulation of carbon, simply through our benign actions. In this case, a drive in the country with the kids!
So just imagine…
Someone in Georgia who wants to eat strawberries in December is helping that along by creating a demand for fruit that’s not locally in season. Sure, it might be in season somewhere, but to enjoy strawberries in Georgia in the winter, we’re talkin’ major food miles.
Don’t believe it? Here’s a startling statistic: With all the lush land in Hawaii, they still import 90 percent of their beef, 67 percent of their fresh vegetables, 65 percent of their fresh fruits, and 80 percent of all milk! Unbelievable!
PATRICK: Confusion. Spinning. Headache. Did the poor kid get an apple?
WILLIAM: Yes, yes, yes, of course! An apple and a lesson! OK, forget about food miles. Let’s just go for some low hanging fruit, pardon the pun. How about each time we shop at our favorite farmers market we commit to buying two or three Georgia-grown foods? If your head still hurts after that, just add some of those new-fangled organic aspirin to your grocery cart!
PATRICK: And we haven’t even discussed how many extra miles some of us drive just to get to one of those farmers markets. How many grocery stores do we pass, how many gallons of gas do we use, to get our Farmers Market Food Frenzy on – like that roadside stand you drive by sometimes!?!
As always, we say, Nothing about Green is black and white. We know that “food miles” add to our carbon footprint…and what about these “people miles” we’ve heard of?
WILLIAM: Next week, Patrick. It seems like this subject—although not all black and white—really can be elemental to a six year old because he truly understood where apples came from after our adventure.
For the two of us however, we will continue to unravel the mysteries. For now, take some of those organic aspirin…and gimme two while you’re at it. I’ve got some excellent cider I brought home from the mountain trip to wash it down with!
To be continued…
Do you consciously shop for Georgia-grown products? Is it important to you to support your local farmers? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, please.
Join us next week when Special Agents Patrick Cuccaro and William Neal continue their investigation—this time, Bringing YOU to the FOOD.
This week’s 3Rs…
REVEALED: Decatur Farmers Market
REVERED: Will Harris III – White Oak Pastures
REVILED: E. coli