A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (https://food-hub.org/files/resources/Food%20Miles.pdf) on the environmental effects of agricultural products shipped into the state of California found:
- “In 2005, the import of fruits, nuts, and vegetables into California by airplane released more than 70,000 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to more than 12,000 cars on the road.”
- “Today, the typical American prepared meal contains, on average, ingredients from at least five countries outside the United States.”
- Neighborhoods near airports and other transport centers tend to be inhabited by low-income people of color, making this an environmental justice issue.
- “Almost 250,000 tons of global warming gases released were attributable to imports of food products—the equivalent amount of pollution produced by more than 40,000 vehicles on the road or nearly two power plants.”
- “More than 6,000 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides were released into the air—the equivalent of almost 1.5 million vehicles or 263 power plants!”
- “300 tons of sooty particulate matter were released into the air—the equivalent of more than 1.2 million cars or 53 power plants.”
“Approximately 950 cases of asthma, 16,870 missed schools days, 43 hospital admissions, and 37 premature deaths could be attributed to the worsened air quality from food imports.”
What can you do? Buy local from Festival Foods!
- Taste the difference–buying local usually means that produce has been picked very recently (usually within the last twenty-four hours)
- At Festival, we’ve developed unique relationships with our suppliers allowing us to bring fresh produce items from Wisconsin growers straight to you as part of our Days Fresher program.
- Eating locally allows you to eat seasonally, which often means enjoying produce at peak ripeness.
- Wondering what’s at peak ripeness? Check the “Peak This Week” feature at FestFoods.com where you’ll find out what’s in season and at peak, what’s coming up, what’s out of season, and what to watch.
- Although transportation times are increasingly getting shorter, local produce often takes less time to get from field to fork.
- After harvest, some nutrients in fruits and vegetables may degrade over time. Antioxidants, like vitamins A, C, and E, and B-vitamins, like vitamin B6 and thiamin, are particularly susceptible.
- Loss of nutrients is inevitable but can be managed or reduced with proper storage.
- Ideal storage conditions (temperature, humidity, lighting, etc.) can vary quite a bit based on the fruit or vegetable.
- Our knowledgeable produce experts at Festival can help provide information on proper storage.
Emily Schwartz, MS, RDN, CD – Western Wisconsin Regional Dietitian at Skogen’s Festival Foods.