It isn't always better for the environment to buy food locally. How it was farmed and how it was imported matter too. Most of the carbon footprint of groceries is from how they were grown and not how they were transported.
If it's in season where you live, then locally grown is best. If it's out of season, you need to consider a more nuanced point of view.
some surprising sustainability
* Growing almonds for almond milk damages ecosystems and uses a *lot* of water. 80% of the world's almonds come from California, where severe droughts can be a problem
* Soy farming drives deforestation in South America. Tofu can have twice the carbon footprint of chicken
* Fish populations are dynamic. Sustainable fishing leaves land open for reforestation
* Bioplastics are not necessarily better than recyclable plastics like PET
* Industrial cooking is more efficient than home cooking. Tinned tomatoes, chick peas, etc can be a good option
* Cling film is plastic, and plastic is not good. But if you use it carefully, you can prevent food waste, which is worse. Beeswax wrapping is ideal
* Leather can last over a decade, and is biodegradable. Fake leather is made from short lived plastic
* Cotton production is energy intensive. A cotton bag needs to be used 149 times to be more carbon efficient than plastic. Get a good one. Use it often
Lots of people reply-guying it up about soy. Yes, a lot of soy is used as animal feed. That doesn't change the fact that, as things stand, tofu can have a higher carbon footprint than some meat does. And buying it from the wrong suppliers can support the same people destroying the rainforest and farming cattle.
Come on people, think a little before you take umbrage.
@InvaderXan I'm of the thought that if you have to destroy the local environment to grow/farm X then that is the complete opposite of being sustainable. Likewise if you have to import a subsitute rather than use/eat what is produced next door to you.
The point is that food production out of season, while not any more damaging to the local environment, produces more emissions than importing.
Heating large greenhouses during winter typically uses a lot more energy than just shipping vegetables from someplace where they've been growing outdoors.
It may be produced next door. That doesn't mean it's sustainable.
@nerdsorrow @InvaderXan We're going to be installing a poly tunnel at some point, but it might turn into more of a hybrid green house. Glass is infinitely recyclable but plastic isn't. We were going to be looking at manure for heat (how they heated green houses about 200 years ago). But happy to see more places are looking at alternatives!
@Rae @nerdsorrow I've seen a way to construct solar greenhouse heaters using empty cans, black paint, and some old piping. Basically, you make a little solar panel, like those old style ones which heated people's water. Except instead of water, you're heating air and piping it into the greenhouse.
Needs sunlight, of course. I wonder how well it works...
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