Earth Day Pledge Goals #3 and #4 Update – Food Miles Calculations Revised

For Earth Day 2010, I made a pledge to eat better.

I then defined “better” with four specific goals.

This is an update on goals #3 and #4.

The old Goal #3 was to take a food miles inventory in fall, winter and spring.

The old Goal #4 was improve upon my food miles average from (late) fall to spring when the abundance of local produce might be similar. This was to show I had incorporated more local food and fresh food into my diet.

I’m going to drastically change these two goals because they were both impractical and meaningless. I’m going to eat local for the economy, not the environment!

My new goal #3 is that I’m going to identify where I used to get all of my regularly eaten food in terms of provincial, national and international. I’m going to do this by the number of product types (not weight, units, dollar value or other measure).

My new goal #4 is that I’m going to get at least 50% of my regularly eaten food from within Nova Scotia where I live, and less than 10% internationally. Again, I will do this by the item.

I had reserved the right to change my goals when I set them, pending what I learned along the way, so long as I had good reasons for doing so. I have two very good reasons here on why food miles is a myth, which I have blogged about in another post that focuses purely on these factors without mixing my personal goals into it. My new goals are from my recommendations there about using the food miles concept in a vague way to help conceptualize where you get your food and help you bring it closer to home, but nothing more than that because it’s of no more meaning, value or accurate than that.

As for my new goal #3, I have changed my diet sufficiently in buying from the local farmers’ market that I wouldn’t be able to recall the quantities of what I had bought before. I only know what I bought so I will count it by the product types. That is, tomatoes will count for one, beef will count for one, etc. This new goal is to get a baseline like the old #3, just in a way where I can actually get a number I know will be accurate and will have some meaningful value, as vaguely meaningful as it might be. It’s better than trying a real food miles baseline.

My new goal #4 is similar to incorporate more local and fresh food. It is similar to Goal #1 to spend more money at the farmers’ market, but I can also optimize localization of what I get at the supermarkets by this new goal #4. So the two have some overlap, but works to improve my local eating habits even more.

I will link updates on these new goals here once I post them.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 9.4


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