When you go to the grocery store and purchase your weekly groceries, your food has already traveled on average about 1,500 to 3,000 miles according to Sustainable Table, an organization that embraces sustainable food. Not only has your food traveled a long distance, but you just supported a business that contributes to air or soil pollution, the over use of water, pesticide use, and the wallets of big corporations that aren’t concerned with your health but with how much money they are gaining.
We, as young college students, as well as the rest of society, need to stop supporting these types of practices and take on more “locavore” lifestyles.
Sustainable table defines a “locavore” as one whom purchases food through local farmers within a 100-mile radius of their city. By doing so, people will support the environment and local economies.
“It is important for the public to know what is grown in their area, California. It gives farmers the opportunity to save their wares so people can buy their products. That’s why it is important to buy from farmers markets, so people like me, farmers within this same community as you can provide and display to you nutrient rich, good tasting food,” Carlos Hernandez, a farmer at the local farmers market in Northridge, said.
I go to farmers markets often to purchase my produce and the taste of the produce from the market is more pure and sweet compared to that sold at the grocery store. This is because when you purchase through local farms your produce has been picked when it was ripe and, for the most part, in-season.
“All of these little businesses you see here all focus on bringing their products from the field to the table. We pick when it’s ripe and bring it to the community. It’s a lot fresher, not refrigerated. Everything is natural and a lot tastier. A lot of flavor,” Richard Moosa, farmer at the local Northridge farmers market, said.
According to Sustainable Table, food consumed through industrial farming, “negatively impacts the environment in myriad ways (e.g., by polluting the air, surface water, and groundwater, over-consuming fossil fuel and water resources, degrading soil quality, inducing erosion, and accelerating the loss of biodiversity,) Industrial agriculture also adversely affects the health of farm workers, degrades the socioeconomic fabric of surrounding communities, and impairs the health and quality of life of community residents.”
These types of results occur because the food comes from refrigerated trucking, thousands of miles of transportation, and pesticide/hormone use.
Again, as college students we are the future and we should not promote such actions that degrade our planet. We should have a positive impact on the earth. Why would you want to support businesses that contributes so much damage to the environment when your local farmer down the road depends on your business? California Lutheran University can help us live this positive lifestyle by implementing more locally based food into our food system.
Policy Innovations, another organization that promotes local eating states that, “when your food is traveling a long distance, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and other pollutants that contribute to global climate change-acid rain, smog is all released.”
As said in the United States Department of Agriculture, “48 percent of school districts in Vermont serve local meat or poultry, 53 percent of school districts in Alaska serve local seafood, and all but three states in the U.S. report school districts serving local meats.” In efforts to make a different the report says U.S schools are now implementing a locavore-based lunch and are “requiring school fund authorities to purchase, to the maximum extent practicable, domestic commodity or product,” in compliance with the Buy American Provision for, “positive effects on small and local businesses.”
Cal Lutheran should join the movement and create a rule that a certain percentage (beyond what the school is already purchasing) of the food provided by the university needs to be purchased through local farmers. Not only would the university be supporting an environmentally friendly practice, but this would make healthier, locally grown foods more easily accessible to us students.
We don’t need to all stop going to grocery stores all in all because that’s unreasonable but making little changes can make a huge difference. Go to your local farmers market once a month. There is one held at The Oaks Mall every Thursday from 1:30 p.m.-6 p.m., or try one new locally grown product each week. For every 10 fruits or vegetables you purchase from the grocery store consider buying two from a local farmer. By gradually implementing healthy practices we can decrease the negative impact industrial farming has on our environment, economy, and health.
Published April 27th, 2016