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Garbage in, Garbage out!

June 14th, 2011


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

About John:

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.

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Growing Debt and Growing a Victory Garden

September 20th, 2010


Humble Seed will often point out reasons why growing your own food is important, from the freshest foods possible to a sense of personal accomplishment, but there’s another necessary reason why so many families today are turning to gardening: debt.

Today’s economy has forced many families into picking and choosing where they will spend their hard earned money, and sometimes, it can come down to what bills will be paid versus what types of meals will be put on the table. There are families feeling the pressure to buy more processed foods, because they are less expensive. Sadly, processed foods can be very unhealthy. There are also families choosing to grow their own foods, because starting from seed is inexpensive, and the yields can be high—with enough vegetables to feed your family and more for an entire growing season. Aside from the expenses of getting your garden ready and maintaining it, growing your own foods can be very economical.

If you do not have the space or yard for your own garden why not partner with a family member, friend or neighbor and create a joint victory garden? Victory gardens were first created during World War I and World War II in order to minimize the pressure on the public food supply that was caused by the wars. They were herb, fruit and vegetable gardens that were planted at families’ residences and public parks. Today, with the slowly recovering economy and continuing frustrations with the way our foods are being produced and processed, the word ‘victory’ can be an inspiration for a better and more sustainable world. With the popularity of victory gardens growing, it’s clear that people are making informed choices about where they will spend their money, how they will manage to stay afloat during the bad economy, and what foods they will feed their families.

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