Our National Food System
Our current national food system is highly dependent on fossil fuels from the farm to the plate. It is estimated that for each calorie of food consumed, be- tween 7 and 10 calories of energy are expended. Fossil fuels are used for fertilizers, pesticides, fuel to power farm machinery, food processing plants and food storage in grocery stores and at home. According to Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry, most people in the U.S. “eat” the equivalent of 13 barrels of oil a year.
What Changes Can be Made in the Food Production System?
Relocalization: Produce more basic foods locally.
Diet: Shift toward locally-grown, less-processed, seasonal foods.
Soil Fertility: Shift from fossil fuel fertilizers and monoculture to polyculture, crop rotation and composting.
Sourcing: Identify, nurture and preserve indigenous foods
Transportation: Reduce long distance food hauling.
What Can We Do As A Community?
- Assess the current Newburyport food supply system.
- What food is grown locally and by whom? Where do we get our other food? How many days supply of food is on hand at any one time?
- Create a new food vision.
- How would a new low energy food supply system operate to meet our commu- nity’s essential food needs?
- Determine necessary steps.
- How do we move from the current food supply system to our envisioned one, and what is the timetable?
- Implement the identified steps.
- Begin following the timetable and plan to periodically reassess progress and need for revision.
What Can I Do As An Individual/Family?
- Become food aware. What am I eating? Where did it come from? What is in it? How is it packaged?
- Create your ideal food vision.Will I eat less processed food, more fruits and vegetables? How will I move toward my food vision?
- Learn how to food garden.Even growing some herbs or vegetables in a window box starts your journey.
- Buy more locally grown produce, eggs and meat.
- Shop more frequently at farmers markets, CSA’s and local farm stands. It not only reduces the energy input of your food, it stimulates the local economy.
- Be active in local food groups.
- Support and participate in groups involved with community gardens, slow food, farmers markets, transition food working group, etc.