Local organic food and farming are the gold standard. Organic farmers gladly adhere to a set of regulations, use non-toxic products, and accept the need to be scrutinized by an independent third party inspector. Why? Because, regulation of food safety is essential to guaranteeing consumers that the farmer has their health and well being at the center of his or her business plan. The organic regulatory process is neither easy nor happily anticipated by the farmer. But it is necessary! It is our covenant with our customers.
This article says a lot about greenwashing terms like “local and organic.”
I’d add my two cents by pointing out that for most people I see around me these high-unemployment days, they’re not all that interested in paying that extra money for either. The poorer you are, the greater the percentage of your total budget goes to put food down your neck.
We are still in that stage where the exemplary behavior of some is a rehearsal for what will become necessary behavior for most in the future. Local is not available here right now, because we are covered in white stuff, and that canning thing hasn’t caught on with overworked, stressed out, minimum-wagers.
Prioritizing ways to cut back might be more helpful than hectoring people, I don’t know. But one of our fact sheets from Ann Arbor points out that:
18% of the world’s greenhouse gases emitted are due to cattle production. Cattle’s digestive system released 139 million metric tons of CO2e of methane in the U.S. in 2007, consequently giving dairy and beef a high carbon footprint.
One study found that eating all locally grown food for a year saves greenhouse gases equivalent to driving 1,000 miles, but eating a vegetarian meal once a week saves the equivalent of driving 1,160 miles.
A vegetarian diet greatly reduces one’s carbon footprint, but simply replacing all beef consumption with chicken leads to a carbon footprint reduction of 882 pounds CO2e. Most dietary emissions come from red meat and dairy.
Organic food typically requires 30-50% less energy during production and requires one third more hours of human labor compared to typical farming practices.
So there are little ways people can wade in on this, and be commended on it until they are in a position to do more.
And the struggle to expose greenwashing looks like it will be long slog.
Just a coupla thoughts on the fly.