Photo by Damon Bay on Getty Images
The next part of our Earth Week series features articles on "Growing - Local and sustainable food and gardening options in WNY." In the first article in the series, Mark Rountree a planner for the Erie county Department of Environment and Planning and staff to the Erie County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board talks about the significance of local agriculture in maintaining a low carbon footprint and how Erie County engaged in an 18-month planning process to create a plan to protect agriculture and farmland in Erie County.
In the United States, the average grocery store's produce travels nearly 1,500 miles between the farm where it was grown and your refrigerator.
Our food is trucked across the country, hauled in freighter ships over oceans, and flown around the world. A tremendous amount of fossil fuel is burned to transport foods such long distances, releasing carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and other pollutants that contribute to global climate change, acid rain, smog, and air and sea pollution. The refrigeration required to keep our fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meats from spoiling during their long journeys burn even more fossil fuel. In contrast, local and regional food systems produce 17 times less CO2.