March 04, 2007

How Far Has Your Food Travelled?

Years ago, President Bush signed a law. This law required that meats, fish, perishable agricultural commodities (produce) and other foods be labeled with details about where they come from. This way, consumers (you and I) could read a label and decide if we want to buy foods produced in the U.S., or foods shipped overseas from other countries and trucked in from all corners of the continent. A good place to start if you're just beginning on the local eating path.

But two years later, the law had not been implemented and Bush signed a new law delaying its implementation until 2006. Then in 2005, he signed another law delaying the original requirements until late 2008. What do you think will come of that law if this continues?

Seems likely it will keep being delayed and delayed until a law is passed wiping it off the books forever, and consumers will continue to be left in the dark about the foods they eat. But a group of farmers and consumer advocates hopes to change that. The Farmers Union, the Organic Consumers Association, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and others have officially "urged Congress to implement the law by September, 2007," according to a recent Reuters report.

You can do something!
Does it matter to you where your food comes from? Would you like to know whether those potatoes are from Chile or from Idaho? (Small Failures doubts that Chile produces many potatoes but you get the idea.) If you think this is important, we encourage you to send a quick email to the man in charge, one Stephen Altizer (you can edit the subject and body of your message to reflect your own words if you like).

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2 Comment(s)

Blogger ben huff said...

JJ,

This is a great topic, and especially pertinent here in Alaska.

This is kind of an extension of the topic, but one I never considered until I moved here. I have a friend that was a strict vegetarian before she moved to Alaska, and now not only does she eat meat, but she hunts.

She made a conscience choice to weigh her vege beliefs against her fossil fuel impact. She buys locally grown organic food, cans some food herself as well, but our short growing season limits much produce. She doesn't buy meat, but hunts seasonly, and only eats what she kills.

She is completely sustainable from a local level. It's an interesting position, and not one I had considered until I moved here. Her argument is essentially based on.."do you know how much fuel it takes to ship tofu up here?".

It's no longer about vegetarian vs vegan vs meat eating vs hunting - it's about the size of her footprint.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Jessie Jane said...

As a vegetarian myself, I have never felt that hunting for one's food is a bad thing. Given the environmental and health implications of modern meat farms, I think hunting for one's own food (or hunting to feed a larger, if local, community) is pretty righteous.

I have been meaning to put together some informational posts discussing some of these issues—the food chain, the fuel chain, definitions etc. "Sustainability" encompasses so many issues that it can be hard to break it down into digestible chunks, so to speak!

If I didn't have a freeway next to my house, I'd be growing my own veggies on my front porch, for sure.

—JJ

1:30 PM  

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