This St. Patrick's Day, create a global table for an Irish feast from local farmers and producers. If you missed your chance to shop at one of the year-round farmers markets in Ballard, the University District or West Seattle, you can still purchase local foods at grocery stores, or order directly from producers such as Olsen Farms, Full Circle Farms, Bill the Butcher, Bob’s Quality Meats or Rain Shadow Meats. Cabbage, red potatoes and sustainably raised, grass-fed beef are in season and can be yours for a fraction of the environmental cost. Looking to make green eggs and ham? Give Blue #1 and Yellow #5 a break and try a natural food dye from Nature’s Flavors or Seelect.
Do you know the carbon footprint of your food? Most produce grown in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles before it gets sold(1). Purchase Chilean grapes or apples from New Zealand, and your food has traveled more than 6,000 miles from farm to table. In addition to the energy and fuel used to transport our food, there is also the energy used during production. Approximately 23% of the energy used in our food production system comes from processing and packaging food(2). Every year, the US food system uses as much as France’s total annual energy consumption - 10 quadrillion Btu(3). You can decrease the resources required to produce the food you consume by learning what is fresh in Washington State, plan meals around seasonal availability, and learn what is sold from local producers in grocery stores or farmers markets. By supporting locally grown meals, you can help reduce packaging and fuel used to transport food from across the U.S. and around the world.