What’s your Foodprint?

Goodlifer: What's your Foodprint?

Globally, an estimated one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are from our food system and land use changes, which include GHGs emitted to grow, process, package, transport, store and dispose our food. The phrase Carbon Footprint is on most people’s radar today, but it’s time that we also consider our Foodprint. A food system more focused on local and sustainable food production would allow us to better achieve goals of reducing GHG emissions while improving the environmental, health and economic needs of people everywhere.

Although real change to our food system needs to be backed up by legislation, you can help make that happen by voting with your dollars at the store. Buy fresh, fair, local and organic as often as possible.

Although real change to our food system needs to be backed up by legislation, you can help make that happen by voting with your dollars at the store. Buy fresh, fair, local and organic as often as possible. Image via Inhabitat.

The NYC Foodprint Alliance is a collaborative network of food justice, environmental, anti-hunger and human and animal rights organizations working for a more healthy, just and sustainable food system for New York City. The Alliance was founded in February 2009 to develop and advocate for a New York City Council resolution that addresses our city’s Foodprint — our food system’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change — and includes over 20 local non-profit groups, including Just Food, Sierra Club New York City Group, Small Planet Institute, New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, Farm Sanctuary, Kind Green Planet, World Hunger Year, Slow Food USA, Oxfam ActionCorps NYC, Eating Liberally and Cool Foods Campaign. The passage of a global warming foodprint resolution would be a crucial first step toward ensuring our food system better meets these goals.

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The resolution, introduced in the City Council by Councilmember Bill de Blasio, is the first ever food and climate change resolution and calls for a citywide initiative to create greater access to local, fresh, healthy food especially in low-income communities as well as city-run institutions. It is meant to build on PlaNYC, which aims to reduce global warming and encourage environmental awareness, yet does not address food and farming. Increasing availability and use of local, healthy food decreases significant pollution caused by the packing, preparing and shipping of food. “If we can have a fast food restaurant on almost every corner, then we can certainly have a garden. New York City’s low-income communities suffer alarmingly high rates of chronic, diet-related diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. A local and sustainable food plan would provide greater access to the healthy, fresh, and locally grown produce and help our environment at the same time,” said de Blasio.

Where your food comes from and how many miles it has travelled to get to you has a major impact of climate change. A tomato from Argentina is also never going to be as fresh as one grown locally.

Where your food comes from and how many miles it has travelled to get to you has a major impact of climate change. A tomato from Argentina is also never going to be as fresh as one grown locally. Photo from the Far Foods project by James Reynolds.

Currently, New York City has 87 farmers markets and 82 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs offering a wide array of locally grown, organic foods. In addition to providing local communities with greater access to healthier, locally grown food, a local and sustainable food approach within New York City would also expand green jobs for New Yorkers throughout the City’s parks, gardens, urban farms, and local food processing, storage and distribution facilities.

“Bill de Blasio’s effort to promote access to local, fresh food is an important piece of the revolution we’re seeing in the way government thinks about food,” said Borough President Scott Stringer. “Until recently, food policy was only about improving health and nutrition. Now we understand that where our food comes from, how it’s grown, and the way it gets to our table plays a major role in climate change too.”

The Low Carbon Diet Calculator can give you an idea of your personal Foodprint.

Calculate your Foodprint with the Low Carbon Diet Calculator. Take action to support FoodprintNYC, and, if you live in another part of the country, find out how efforts in your city can be added to Foodprint USA.

This post is part of Blog Action Day 2009, a global call to action powered by Change.org, and one of the largest-ever social change events on the web.

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).

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