Creating the Smartivore

This article was sent to me by Brianna, who unfortunately does not know that I rarely check my del.icio.us page with any frequency. Thus, I had to wait several extra months before devouring (sorry) this marvelous article about a guy who builds a backyard farm, complete with poultry, in New York City with the intent that he can survive entirely off his own piddly plot of backyard-land for a month. His efforts to become a "locavore" are insightful, inspiring, and at times completely frightening.

"Eating local is expensive and time-consuming, which is why this consumerist movement will not easily trickle down into mass society. It requires a willful abstinence from convenience and plenty, a core promise of the modern world. Our bountiful era is predicated on the division of labor: We don’t sew our own clothes, we don’t build our own houses—and we certainly don’t farm—because we’re too busy doing whatever it is we do for everyone else. " (Source: "My Empire of Dirt", by Manny Howard)

Perhaps funnily enough, this ties in with a number of the environmental and economic topics in this blog's history. If you've been enduring me for any length of time, you'll recognize the theme of that quote's last sentence.

There's also renewed debate (or rather, a reminder that there is no end to the debate) over the choice to consume local and the benefits of choosing smarter protein choices, and which benefits the environment more from a Greenhouse Gas standpoint. This article from Science News downplays the blind acceptance of the "food-miles" movement in favour of making basic, intelligent, informed sacrifices (Don't take away my cheese OR my bacon!) in food types, and frequency of consumption, to lessen our environmental footprint as it relates to food production and consumption.

"For the average U.S. consumer, getting the equivalent of one-seventh of a week’s calories from chicken, fish or vegetables instead of red meat or dairy will do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than buying all local, all the time, the researchers say. Crunching the numbers revealed that delivery to the consumer accounts for only 1 percent of red meat–associated emissions. But the production path to red meat and dairy products is clouded with nitrous oxide and methane emissions, mainly from fertilizer use, manure management and animal digestion." (Source: "It's the meat, not the miles", by Rachel Ehrenberg) 

The premise of eating less red meat and other foods that are far higher up the "energy chain" than those closer to the ground (corn and rice, anyone?) is likely not new to many of us, but it's good to refresh our collective memory when it comes to making choices based on one idea alone, whether that be "organic", "local", or "low energy" foods.

Interesting reads, both. And, as always, I'd love to hear your experiences.


Posted bythemikestand at 1:09 PM  

2 stepped up to the mike:

Brianna said... 3:05 PM, May 16, 2008  

glad you enjoyed the article, I found it fascinating. Check delicious more often so i can force media on you.

HalfAsstic.com said... 7:55 PM, May 16, 2008  

OK.This is what I've got to offer:
As of this afternoon, (while trapped in the car with him and struggling to get the window down IMMEDIATELY), my husband had some gas that would have killed a lesser woman. I am now opting to plug up his butt with....something and I am fairly sure this will help with the whole greenhouse gas issue. Hey, it can't hurt...

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