Cut Your Carbon Footprint with Festival Foods

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.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Your Carbon-Saving Equation – Do you know what your footprint looks like? Try these energy saving tips and see if your footprint number is enough to offset the use of 1 car for a year. The average car emits around 12,037 pounds of CO2 per year.

Action: Recycle Aluminum and Steel Cans

Totally worth it: When we recycle cans and other metals we save 95 percent of the energy required to manufacture new aluminum cans from scratch and 74 percent of the energy needed to make steel.
CO2 saved: 414 pounds.
Car off the road: Doing it for 1 year is like taking 3,934,118 cars off the road.

Action: Recycle Newspapers and Magazines

Totally worth it: We Americans throw away more paper than anything else. When we recycle we not only save trees but we could cut air pollution by 95%
CO2 saved: 581 pounds
Cars off the road: 5,511,566

Action: Wash Laundry on a Cooler Setting

Totally worth it: Did you know that almost 90% of the energy used to wash your clothes goes to heat up the water.
CO2 saved: 349 pounds
Cars off the road: 3,316,442

Action: Switch Five Light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs

Totally worth it: We’ve heard it before, but CFL uses 1/3 of the energy and lasts 10 times longer. Changing just 5 bulbs can save you about $400 over the CFL’s lifetime.
CO2 saved: 500 pounds
Cars off the road: 4,751,350

Action: Compost a Fifth of Your Garbage

Totally worth it: Less trash means less energy to haul it away. Plus composing it saves on greenhouse gases that rotting food emits.
CO2 saved: 832 pounds
Cars off the road: 7,906,246

Action: Modify the Temperature on Your Thermostat

Totally worth it: Save yourself about $150 per year when you turn your house down just 4 degrees when no one is home.
CO2 saved: 1,300 pounds
Cars off the road: 12,353,510

Action: Follow the Speed Limit

Totally worth it: You may be in a hurry, but following the speed limit helps your MPG by almost 15%. And it will save you about $200/yr at the pump.
CO2 saved: 1,500 pounds
Cars off the road: 28,121,158

Action: Buy Green Power

Totally worth it: Visit epa.gov and see if you can’t purchase some green power in your area. Those in the Chippewa Valley with Xcel Energy have the option to purchase wind power. Check out more at www.xcelenergy.com
CO2 saved: 20,508 pounds
Cars off the road: 194,881,372.

Live Green

Living space choices can reduce your carbon footprint substantially. Maybe a yurt’s not in your future, but more and more eco-living communities are developing around the country. In our area, think modular home communities (where your carbon footprint is a fraction of what it is in a traditional 1500 sq. foot house), smaller homes with unwatered lawns (less is more for our planet), or even geodesic homes.

The Buckminster Fuller Institute lists all kinds of advantages to geodesic dwellings, efficiency prime among them (www.bfi.org), but the few you’ll see in our region probably won’t be for sale anytime soon. If you’re house hunting, know that green realtors aren’t completely unheard of. Jeff Hoel is a green realtor in Menomonie, one of the very few in a 100 mile radius (bigguy@landking.com) of Eau Claire.

If you’re building, there are lots of options (www.ecohome.org) you can consider to reduce the effects your home might have on the environment without sacrificing style and luxury.

Don’t even get us started on thermal mass homes (www.earthomes.net) or underground homes (www.undergroundhomes.com), which use the earth to insulate the home and ultimately save loads of energy. The bottom line: what you choose to live in can make as much difference as how you live in it.