Blog Post by Volunteer and Student, Anna Potratz
The pollution that comes from simply shipping food across the country can do massive environmental damage. Delivery trucks can put up to 1,522 tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere every year, and about 70% of our food is shipped by truck, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Towns along major shipping routes suffer the most from severely worsened air quality, which is linked to increased rates of respiratory illness, growth delays in children, and cancers. So not only is this an issue of our future, but of the health of people in small, drive-through towns.
What Can You Do?
Lowering contribution to this form of pollution is easy: shop local! Farmers’ markets are almost always run by a passionate collective of local farmers, both hobbyists and professionals The San Diego Farm Bureau has an excellent list of farmers’ markets certified by the County Agricultural Commissioner, which ensures the produce meets quality standards and was grown in-state. It’s a great place to start if you don’t know of any markets near you.
If you can’t make it to the sometimes-limited hours of farmers’ markets, many grocery stores focus on selling solely local produce. They pride themselves on selling the best food your area has to offer, and often strive to have non-GMO, organic options for every product on their shelves. Your North County also has a list of locally-sourced grocery stores stretching from Del Mar to Oceanside. Many of these stores, such as Frazier Farms, have weekly sales and bulk sections if you’re shopping on a budget. There are also Community-Sourced Agriculture programs that you can sign up for, where you can buy produce directly from local farmers.
In today’s society, some carbon emissions are inevitable. But if you want to try and cut down your personal emissions (and boost the local economy!), visit locally-sourced grocery stores, farmers markets, or even that little roadside fruit stand on your way to work.