You are what you eat, and in American, we are petroleum. Some of you might be agreeing with me while others are scratching their heads. So I will elaborate for you. The following exert is taken from a 2004 article called, Eating Fossil Fuels by Dale Allen Pfeiffer. I provided the link below and recommend you read it in its entirety.
In the United States, 400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended annually to feed each American (as of data provided in 1994). Agricultural energy consumption is broken down as follows:
- 31% for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer
- 19% for the operation of field machinery
- 16% for transportation
- 13% for irrigation
- 08% for raising livestock (not including livestock feed)
- 05% for crop drying
- 05% for pesticide production
- 08% miscellaneous
Energy costs for packaging, refrigeration, transportation to retail outlets, and household cooking are not considered in these figures.
Our food now travels from between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from farm to table. With a highly efficient semi-truck getting 6 to 8 mpg your looking at an average of 286 gallons of gas to get that food to your table. The sad thing, is that it isn’t even good food. Modified, picked green, force ripened, altered, these are all common terms and practices. I challenge each of you to take a trip to your local grocery store with one goal, to leave with only REAL food. By that I mean no altered ingredients, no pesticides or hormones, no unnatural colorants or preservatives, just food grown from start to finish the way it did 100 years ago. I am in no way a purest, but I did this on a recent trip as I strolled through, some isles were completely passed without even stepping down, and when I hit that final one with a meager amount of organic produce that I could only assume fit the criteria I came to the realization, there is NO FOOD HERE!!! Wow, Mother Nature gave us this beautiful planet, had everything figured out, and we didn’t think that was good enough. I am not a fan of scare tactics, my intent is to make everyone a little more aware; I am only briefly touching on this subject here and will elaborate more on different areas in future blogs. For now try to educate yourself a little more on the food you eat. My recommended reading this time is Tomatoland: how modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed our Most Alluring Fruit, by Barry Estabrook.
Just remember folks Garbage in, is Garbage out… Thanks for your time, John Cavanagh
John Cavanagh has spent 20 years in the food service industry and is currently the general manager of Tuck Shop in the Coronado Historic District in Phoenix and Owner/ Operator of John’s Premium® Tonic Syrup. With his uncle being a third generation farmer in Montana, his passion and experience with food gives him a unique perspective on where agriculture is and should be going here in America.