Tag Archives: food system

A look at Sonoma County’s plan to fight food waste

Arlene Karidis, WASTE 360

About 45,500 tons of food is dumped in California’s Sonoma County landfill each year, while about 82,000 of its citizens go hungry every month. The Sonoma County Food Recovery Coalition (SCFRC) is working to bridge that divide by diverting what is salvageable and edible to feed the hungry.

SCFRC is developing an online, countywide listing whereby charities can accept donations of produce, dry goods and prepared food. Donators will be able to enter their zip codes to find nearby drop-off locations for their surplus food. But the coalition, including government organizations, non-profits and individuals, has plans beyond this mapping tool.

“The SCFRC is dedicated to creating a community where food is shared equitably and where there is a deeper understanding of the valuable resources that go into producing food. We are working on community-based solutions to reduce food waste, increase food recovery, and create more awareness about this issue,” says Mimi Enright, program manager for University of California Cooperative Extension’s (UCCE) Community Food Systems. (UCCE is facilitating SCFRC’s initiative.)

As a corollary effort to the resource listing, SCFRC is planning an awareness campaign with both a consumer and business focus. And it’s developing a website to serve as a landing page to provide consumers and businesses with more information on how they can support food recovery.

One of the lead organizations is nonprofit CropMobster. It is building the listing technology. It will host the directory on its website and market it on its existing platform, which serves the San Francisco Bay Area.

Read more at: A Look at Sonoma County, Calif.’s Plan to Fight Food Waste

Filed under Sustainable Living

Healthy diet good for climate change

Tim Radford, CLIMATE NEWS NETWORK

US-based research has found that even a modest switch to a more vegetable-based diet could lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists have worked out how to combat climate change and improve human health, one mouthful at a time.

The answer is a familiar one: they calculate that a relatively modest switch towards a more vegetable-based diet could, in the US at least, lead to a reduction of 222kg in greenhouse gas emissions per person per year, while cutting the relative risk of coronary heart disease, colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes by 20% to 40%.

It could also reduce US healthcare costs by at least $77bn a year and possibly $93bn.

The US spends $3tn on healthcare every year – 18% of gross domestic product – and a significant proportion of health costs are associated with obesity and illnesses linked to diet.

Read more at: Healthy diet good for climate change – Climate News NetworkClimate News Network

Filed under Agriculture/Food System, Climate Change & Energy

Hey Mr. Green, should I care how far my food travels?

Bob Schildgen, SIERRA

Hey Mr. Green,

I hear that agriculture and food transportation take a whopping amount of energy, and therefore contribute to global warming. If so, what can we do about it?

–Janet in Jacksonville, Florida

Locavores complain that agribusiness burns way too much energy. Growing food, however, takes less of the total U.S. energy budget–about 2 percent–than processing and packaging it. And surprisingly, given all the fretting about food miles, food transportation requires only 0.5 percent of our total energy, and half that much comes not from big rigs barreling down the interstate but from shoppers driving to and from stores and restaurants. A car on a four-mile round-trip to fetch 50 pounds of groceries uses 300 times more fuel per pound per mile than a semi does.

Increased reliance on fast foods and commercially prepared meals adds to food-related energy use, because it requires more transportation and replaces manual labor with machines. But the biggest food-related energy drain is in your own home: Refrigeration, cooking, dishwashing, and disposal consume a third of the energy in the food system.

Here’s how to reduce your dinner’s energy content: (1) cut down on heavily processed, excessively packaged food and get back to basics, which will help farmers (who once received nearly 50 cents of every food dollar and now get only 17 cents, thanks to the increased share taken by processors, packagers, and marketers); (2) bike, walk, carpool, or take public transit to food stores; (3) avoid fast foods and eat out less; (4) get efficient Energy Star-approved appliances; (5) grow your own produce if possible; and (6) do like Grandma said: Clean your plate and don’t waste so dern much. Annually, 34 million tons of food waste ends up in dumps, creating the greenhouse gas methane and wasting the energy it took to produce it. –Bob Schildgen

via Hey Mr. Green, Should I Care How Far My Food Travels? | Sierra Club.

Filed under Agriculture/Food System, Climate Change & Energy, Sustainable Living, Transportation

State Sen. Noreen Evans’ GMO food-labeling bill clears state Senate committee

Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Proposed legislation by state Sen. Noreen Evans requiring all foods containing genetically modified organisms to be labeled in California cleared its first hurdle Wednesday in Sacramento.

The Senate Committee on Health approved the bill on a 5-2 vote after Evans, D-Santa Rosa, agreed to several amendments, including that the legislation exclude alcohol products and not take effect until Jan. 1. 2016.

Supporters of GMO labeling argue that it is necessary to protect public health and the consumer’s right to make informed choices. Critics, however, say such labels would confuse shoppers and lead to higher production costs.

“I want to be very clear: This bill doesn’t ban anything,” Evans testified Wednesday. “It simply requires labeling. It’s agnostic on whether GMOs are good, or whether they are bad.”

via Petaluma360.com | Petaluma Argus-Courier | Petaluma, CA.

Filed under Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable Living