Tag Archives: local

What is local?

Ever since I made an offer on the house, I’ve really been struggling with the following question:  If I grow food 219 miles away from NYC, is it really considered local?

It’s more of a hypothetical versus actual problem; after all the farm is very close to Albany and Cooperstown, and even if I’d wanted to buy land closer, there’s no way I could have afforded it. Plus there are plenty of people for whom to grow food who are very close to my land. But having been a city girl for the past 14 years, I’m quite loathe to cut my ties completely.  And since the Stubborn Boy is keeping his job and commuting up to the farm on weekends until I make enough money to hire him, there is no reason to NOT sell to the city.

In some ways it’s like a zero carbon footprint since I’ll be sending my product in a car already pre-destined for Brooklyn and I can blame the emmisions on the Stubborn Boy how has to work in the city, but I know deep down that’s a cheat.  Or is it? New York City has approximately 8 million residents *According to the 2010 USGOV census. That’s a lot of people to feed. And one must travel at minimum 50 miles just to find acreage that is available for organic farming. So for me on a flight attendant salary in a recessed economy, I’m not awash in dough. The choice is either go all the way up toward Albany or not farm.

So here’s easy to read math; I’d love to hear your voice on the matter. If I want to provide CSA boxes (Community Supported Agriculture produce box), I have to drive 219 miles one way  with a car that gets 28 miles to the gallon and has storage capacity to carry at least forty CSA boxes.  That’s about 16 gallons of gas round trip. Each box is designed for a family of two-four, so basic math averaging means I’ll be producing food for 120 people.  *According to Carbonfootprint.com, 16 gallons of gas (a return trip to my farm from Brooklyn) is equal to 320 kg, but divided by the 120 people I’m feeding it’s only 2.66kg per person per week. Whatever, I could get lost in the statistics, which as a non-mathy person are a bit boring. I just hope people can agree that eating organic lettuce from three hours away is more environmentally friendly than eating it from 3105 miles away. (According to google maps, this is the trucking mileage from a large mass producer “Organics farm” in California to Brooklyn).

Let me just wrap this up from one final statistic from cooltheworld.com

Did you know?

The average grown up has a carbon footprint of 14000kg (14 Tonnes) a year. By 2050 we need to cut that down to 2000 kg (2 Tonnes a year).