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