Over the past year, the locavore movement has grown significantly – with many Americans making a conscious effort to reduce the number of miles between the source of their food and the table. Last month, the journal of Environmental Science and Technology published a study that found food transportation accounts for only 11% of the greenhouse gas emissions related to overall food consumption. Almost half of greenhouse gas emissions from food are attributed to the production of red meat and dairy products.
This doesn’t come as a surprise as the consumption of meat and dairy products has risen significantly over the past few decades. According to the USDA, American consumption of meat has increased by 57 pounds, and the consumption of cheese has increased by 287% since the 1950’s. It also probably doesn’t come to a surprise to anyone who lives near a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAF0) who can see and smell the pollution these high yielding operations produce.
National Public Radio recently asked the question, “Is it better to eat locally or eat differently?”. We believe it needs to be a combination of both. The locavore movement is not just about “food miles”. It’s also about knowing the source of your food, and community building. And chefs can plan an important role in this movement by creating a market for good food that supports sustainable agricultural practices.