Friday, June 18, 2010

How Far does your food Travel to get on your plate in Texas?

A major study called "Food, Fuel, and Freeways" recently put out by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa compiled data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find out how far produce traveled to a Chicago "terminal market" -- where brokers and wholesalers buy produce to sell to grocery stores and restaurants.

The average Food travels 1500 miles to reach your plate. Those of us who shop at local farmers markets are making the transition to support the local food system. We can eat locally and seasonally with little sacrifice. In Texas, still some crops simply aren’t available in our climate. But we can begin to look at imported foods as things that supplement our local foods.

Supporting our local farmers markets will only encourage those farmers around Texas to start looking at ways to make a living. The average age of a farmer is 56 years old. This is insane! At the same time only 2% of the U.S. population is living outside of the urban cities. In 1935 80% of the U.S. population was living in rural areas.

At the bakery we try to buy as much local as we possibly can. For instance, in our croissant’s the butter comes from East Texas, our milk comes from central Texas, the sugar comes from East Texas and the Flour comes from Utah.

Here are some averages for a Terminal Market:

Apples 1,555 miles
Tomatoes 1,369 miles
Grapes 2,143 miles
Beans 766 miles
Peaches 1,674 miles
Winter Squash 781 miles
Greens 889 miles
Lettuce 2,055 miles