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Beautiful day in the neighborhood, beautiful day for a neighbor…

April 22, 2009

May = Farmers Market Month, and the only thing holding me over from this April Shower shenanigans is the promise of markets popping up all over the area (screw flowers, give me produce).

And while I start putting together a Farmer’s Market Google Calendar (cause I’m just that
frickin helpful), I figured I’d take one last stab at converting nay-sayers with some of my green cooking is awesome rhetoric:

Green cooking is awesome – fresh foods, grown sustainably, without the horrific byproducts that hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals floating around in your body and environment.

Ok, so we all can’t be as awesome as The Four Seasons with our composting dedication. But perhaps we can be at least partially as awesome a good friend of mine who has switched entirely to cloth diapers for her twin (count ’em, 2!) infants.

But back to the cooking part… Remember that little global warming problem? Turns out that the food sector is responsible for about one-third of those greenhouse gases. This will be a well thought-out rant on that, so anyone not in the mood, please feel free to tune out (and back in tomorrow when I cook something).

Using a fun new gadget called the Life Cycle Assessment, scientists are getting really good at pinpointing exactly what foods produce those climate-warming gases, and what stage in their “life cycle” is most carbon-intensive. Hint: There’s more to it than transportation, or food miles traveled.

So what to do. Here’s the getting-started list.

Eat less red meat and dairy products. Why? Because God hates me. Actually, it has more to do with livestock accounting for more than half of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the human diet. But that doesn’t mean that cutting down doesn’t make me sad. On the plus side, eating red meat or cheese isn’t the problem! Its just watching quanity (which we all should probably be doing anyway, cause we’re all fat).

Think about mode, not miles. Planes are the worse. Air-mailed items, typically perishable, high-value foods, are 10 times more carbon intensive than if they came by container ship, and five times more carbon intensive than if they came by truck. So, to recap – Eating seasonally makes this better. Eating local makes this a non-issue.

Buy whole foods in season or frozen in season; skip the processed foods because they suck anyway. Processing requires energy, which uses fossil fuel and creates emissions. Thus, snack on fruit instead of fruit juice; eat more edamame — whole soybeans — and less tofu.

Go reusable with your bags – and stopped just leaving them in the car. Why? Plastic bags = petroleum. They fill landfills & clog oceans.

Waste not. We (Americans) throw away 25% of the food we purchase each year (pricey!). And when food waste decomposes in landfills, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

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