Topics such as Nutrient Density, Iron Rich Foods, and Organic Eating are always popular with runners, but perhaps the topic of Food Proximity should play an equal role when making our food choices considering the carbon footprint foods have on the environment and climate change.
Instructor Garret Hoyt of Clark College says it best: "The growth of food plays a direct role on the health of the planet. To put it simply, the food industry emits ridiculous quantities of CO2 and other emissions because of its complexity. It used to be that you went to the farm and picked up your food and that was it. Now if you look at the farm, they're driving big tractors over the fields several times to seed, fertilize, spray for bugs and weeds, and then again to harvest. Now look at where the seeds came from, they were likely purchased and imported. Farmers aren't saving seeds like they used to. The fertilizer used to be manure, but now they use different nitrogen sources which are a massive source of nitrous oxide emissions which is a potent greenhouse gas. Add in the fact that the fertilizer was produced in a factory somewhere and had to be transported to the farm for application, that all contributes to the emissions of our food. Pesticides and herbicides are also produced, transported and applied using fossil fuels that are part of the emissions produced by food. Foods are then harvested and transported. Rarely are they transported directly to a consumer, first they have to be processed, packaged, transported to a distribution center before shipped to a local grocery store where you drive your SUV to pick up dinner that traveled about 1500 miles on average to get from the farm to your plate. And then there is the other side of things: while not technically 'emissions', our CO2 emissions wouldn't be as impactful if we had more trees to absorb the CO2... But agriculture is the leading cause for deforestation. Primarily we are cutting down trees to grow the crops that feed our beef addiction. Here is another source that could be insightful."
In addition to seeking the nutrient contents within a food produce when shopping, consider an effort to seek locally grown foods as well. Happy shopping!