Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Sustainable Table

Tonight at 6pm, Seattle Pacific Agriculture for the Community and Environment (SPACE) is hosting a showing of Food, Inc. in Science 112, to be followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the PCC Farmland Trust and Agros International.  Recognizing the important role that food plays in sustaining healthy communities, SPACE manages an organic garden on campus (near the corner of 4th and Dravus) and donates a portion of each harvest to a food bank or non-profit. 

As you'll see in the movie, there's a lot wrong with what (and how) Americans eat.  Very briefly, here's a summary of what to look for when choosing what you eat.

Local: Buying local means keeping your transportation "foodprint" low.  It also helps boost the local economy; rather than send your money to another community, you're keeping your dollars here.  Locally grown food is more likely to be seasonal, thus taking less energy to grow.  With farmer's market season just starting in Seattle, there are plenty of great opportunities to support local farmers. 

Organic: Organic food is grown or raised in a manner that limits or excludes synthetic materials (pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, etc.).  Many of these chemicals are known to mimic hormones and as such are suspected carcinogens.  In addition to being ingested, these chemicals often wash into local streams and can pollute animal habitat and even drinking water.  Buying organic means that the worst you'll have to wash off of your produce is a little dirt.  Organic food is usually a bit pricier however, so it's helpful to learn which foods typically contain the most pesticides and focus your organic purchasing there.  You can also save on the cost of purchasing organics by growing them yourself--it's easier than you might think.  If you live on campus and don't have access to a gardening space, you can always join the SPACE garden club.

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