The Future of Food

According to the United Nations UN News on March 9, 2021 in their article, “Food systems account for over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions,” which we need to change to address the climate crisis.  That is a big segment of the CO2 going into the atmosphere, and we have control over what we buy at the grocery store or what we don’t buy.  That includes tilling up fields, methane from beef, production, packaging, and transportation.  Let’s add rice cultivation, fertilizers, and our consumption habits to that list.

So what do we do about it?

I recently took at tour of the Kane Street Community Garden in La Crosse, Wisconsin, with a friend who has been going there for some years.  It was amazing.  According to their website, listed below, the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse operates the Kane Street Community Garden and is funded by the City of La Crosse through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Some 30,000 lbs. of food are grown there each year, which is distributed to local food pantries and meal programs. Its goal is to end hunger in the area. On Harvest Days anyone in the community can come and get free food. There is at least one full time employee and many volunteers that run this garden.

They are also involved in Food Recovery, which is diverting food from grocery stores that would normally go into the garbage because its expiration date has passed or food that is slightly blemished. By directing it from a landfill, the food gets to people who need it. This program distributes food to over 120 programs in La Crosse, Vernon, Trempealeau, Monroe, Houston, Winona, and Allamakee counties.

The pictures above are some of the food they are growing.  I couldn’t believe they were also growing celery, which is something I have almost given up on.  I eat it every day with my hummus so it would be nice to be able to grow it.

As you may notice in those pictures, there are no cereals, candy, snacks, pop, processed food, and frozen food.  There is embodied energy in all of those foods, which help account for the 33% of CO2.  That embodied energy takes the form of all the manufacturing plants and processes to produce one product.  Those buildings all need energy to run.  If we are serious about addressing the climate crisis, we can all agree that we really don’t need any of those foods, and we can be healthier without them.  For instance, we could simply have oatmeal instead of the cereals or hummus for breakfast.

Obviously, the Kane Street Community Garden doesn’t have everything a grocery store would have. That can be solved. There are nuts or grains that can be grown for oil. Grains can also be grown. I am at the beginning of my search for a grain in my own garden. Chickens could be added for eggs. Local meats could also be minimally added.

This is where the future of food needs to go.  There should be at least 3-4 or more Kane Street Community Gardens in every city depending how big the city is. This is definitely a solution for people who can’t grow their own garden and live in big cities. 

We need to imagine a new way to live.

UN News, “Food Systems Account for Over One-Third of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions” March 9, 2021, https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/03/1086822

8 thoughts on “The Future of Food”

    1. Thanks, Samantha! Sorry I am replying so late. I can’t figure out how to do it on my phone. I don’t know if it inspires anyone to grow even a small garden. I am just totally amazed that the city is doing this on such a big scale. It shows what can be done by a city. Now just increase that by how many more gardens and have all cities doing this.

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  1. I agree, great post. Amazing to learn about this facility in La Crosse. Hope more cities create such gardens, all of us will benefit from it.

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  2. Hello, Debbie, great and informative and passion-filled post as usual!
    You mentioned Food Recovery. I just wanted to leave a note here that Chicago is doing this a little, and there are also many community gardens throughout Chicago. Here is some information for those who may hale from the city of “big shoulders” (really big egos – unfortunately), from the 47th Ward newsletter (the 47th Ward is the most environmentally proactive of the ward offices in Chicago that I know of): Food rescue: Matt R. spoke about efforts relating to food rescue, the concept of salvaging potential food waste from businesses and institutions to share with neighbors in need. Want to support these efforts? Donate to the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Solidarity Network or the Chicagoland Food Sovereignty Coalition. Email ChiFoodSovereignty@gmail.com to get involved, or even talk with your favorite local restaurant or grocery store about their food rescue plans!
    That being said, I think Chicago has A LONG WAY TO GO since they consume so much and trainload after trainload keeps rocking into the city, yes we have a LONG WAY TO GO (and yes I am now a resident of Chicago and am banging my head against the proverbial wall with these folks), but Food Recovery IS on the list of things they are working on.
    As a side note, when are they going to install some public EV chargers in your area? I noticed that even if I wanted to visit you I couldn’t because you are completely outside the range of my 70 miles of my 2015 Nissan Leaf from any public EV chargers.
    And a note about the practicality of converting ALL the gas cars to EV cars: yes we certainly couldn’t get every single gas car replaced with an EV car, but if we start down that road, many, many people would rely on public transportation a great deal more and the gaps would be filled by public transportation. That is part of my vision of getting technology and spirit to work together in the future, and not just to throw all the technology away completely.

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    1. Hi Paul! Great to hear from you. And, you are now living in the city. Big change! There is a charging station one mile from me at the Kickapoo Creekside restaurant here in Readstown. I am sure there are charging stations in Madison but it is about 200 miles from Elgin, and you would have to charge your car at least twice to get here. From Chicago, even more. You will get here some day to visit. I hope all is well with you!

      You think Chicago has a long way to go. All cities have a long way to go! I am sure other cities are doing what La Crosse is doing but not many. This has to become the norm for all cities. And, I don’t want to throw all of technology away either but we need some foresight going forward instead of diving deep into the renewable energy sector. We only have so many holes left to dig in our Earth. Each hole disrupts more of our biodiversity that we rely on to exist.

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  3. Hello Debbie – sorry to get off topic and bog down your blog with this off-topic stuff, but I would like to visit you some day. You said there is a charger in Readstown, WI but it doesn’t show up in the Chargepoint, Electrify America, EVGO, or Blink charger maps. Those are the four maps I’ve come to rely on when planning my trip. Can you tell me what type of charger it is and how to find out about it online? Remember there are different types of chargers for different types of cars (Tesla is different than Nissan, etc.)?
    I agree Chicago has a long way to go, but now that I am living here again, they have me to deal with and I will show them a little bit about what a more enthusiastic and committed activist looks like!
    I hope I don’t have to “head for the hills” and try to bring technological people out of their madness – it is a bit of a longshot, but anyway that is where we are today.

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