Check this out!
Never has a crop been so vital to the economic success of a region as sugar cane is to Hawaii. Generations of cane growers have sustained villages, plantations , and families on the back of its leading export.
The cane is refined into a raw product in a factory less than 50 miles away from the fields, in most cases. The raw sugar is then sent to California to factories that refine it into white sugar and send it to factories in New York that package it in dainty little portion controlled packets shaped like a pillow. This packaged sugar is now sent mainly to the hospitality industry who use it in restaurants and such, many of which are located in Hawaii. Total round trip journey, over 10,000 miles.
Seems ludicrous, but unfortunately, it is more the norm than the exception in the way we market food in today’s global economy. In fact, the average apple travels 1555 miles to the shelf you find it on. Tomato 1309, grapes 2143, lettuce 2055
Peaches 1674, even things we grow around here like winter squash and beans travel close to 800 miles to find us. Last year the United Kingdom exported 119000 tons of milk mainly to its European counterparts. Problem is, the United Kingdom imported 114000 tons of milk to feed it’s own people.
Some produce is harvested while unripe as to help maintain its shape and integrity while traveling and then gassed with methane to ripen it when it gets to its destination. Why am I telling you all this you say. The older your food is the less flavorful, and more importantly, the less nutritious it becomes.
Spring is around the corner. Find your local farmers market or farm stand. Support them. The little bit more you pay now will be all the less you pay your doctor in your golden years.
People can change the world, we do it all the time with out even knowing it. The habits we form today formulate the strategies big business uses tomorrow. Think about it. So if your not inclined to throw a few plants in the back yard at least take the time to find healthy locally grown products in your area.