The power of our food system is this. Up to 12 percent of our total fossil fuel use is linked to the food system. More than 35 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions are linked to our food system.If you are concerned about greenhouse gas emissions, that 35% should get your attention. Think about it. First the seeds have to be grown, harvested, and trucked to the farmer. Then it takes fuel to operate the farm machinery (plowing, planting, cultivating, and harvesting). Add to that the production and delivery of fertilizers and pesticides. After that the harvest has to be trucked to the market or a food processor, trucked and flown to markets and stores, and then we drive to the store to buy it.
Sharon Astyk, Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation
Processing food includes not only canning, drying, or freezing, but also packaging. That includes the manufacture and transport of the packaging itself, to the food manufacturer. And unless we use recyclable shopping bags, we need to add that to the list too. All of these are part of the unseen costs that most of us don't give a thought to.
The good news is that these are things we, the average consumer, can do something about. For example, we can buy locally produced food in season, rather than produce that have to be trucked or flown 1000s of miles. Even more helpful, is growing a few favorite items in our yards or window sills, and stocking up when items go on sale. These things mean less trips to the store, less fuel used, and a extra dollars in our pockets.
With that in mind, here's what I did last week:
1. Plant something – nothing this week
2. Harvest something -
- wild onions - bulbs and tops
- froze 3.5 gallons turkey broth (in pints & 1/2 gallons)
- Took the holiday turkey carcasses out of the freezer and made turkey stock using the method described in Nourishing Traditions (cooked with a dash of an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or lemon juice to dissolve minerals in the bones). Yield: 3.5 gallons broth and 4+ cups of turkey meat simmered off the bone.
- Used saved milk cartons to freeze some of the turkey broth
- Weeds & food scraps given to the chickens
- Mulching almond & fruit trees with cardboard
- Bought 2 used 55 gal plastic drums to be used for rain catchment
- Resolved to start buying just a few extra items each week for food storage. Mine was depleted awhile back, and I've lacked the motivation to get really serious about rebuilding it. That needs to change, though it will have to be a little at a time. Still, something is better than nothing.
- Ordered 25# fine sea salt, 5# natural cocoa powder, and 5# dried cranberries for food storage, from Bulkfoods.com
- Bought 5 large cans of pineapple rings on sale. Also bought 2, 3-packs of sterno cans on clearance. I almost didn't because I thought, "well, we have wood for cooking," but then I thought, "but what if we get another long rainy spell and I run out of dry wood." The other possibility would be to give the sterno cans to someone else who could really use them.
- Ordered a self-pollinating cherry tree for the one spot we have left in our row of fruit trees.
- Bought 50# of local onions for $6
- Blogging about it
- Doing a seed giveaway on my blog this week
- turkey and broccoli in meat pie
- turnips and butternut squash from storage roasted
- Starting to use onions in everything. Well, almost everything. I'm not going to try onion brownies any time soon. :)
- leftover pie dough made into fig "jiggers," using some of last summer's fig jam. Recipe below
When I was a kid, jiggers were a treat my grandmother made from leftover pie dough. She would roll out the dough, spread it with butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, roll it up, cut into slices, and bake. We loved them.
My fig jiggers are similar, except that I used my homemade fig jam instead of the butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Roll out, spread, roll up, slice, and bake at 425 F for about 10 -12 minutes or until golden brown.
Independence Days Challenge: 3/28 - 4/3 copyright April 2010