Where does your food come from?
When you visit the supermarket – do you think about where your food has travelled from to end up on your plate? Do you know how it is grown? How much energy and resources are required to grow and move it to you? Are your oranges from California? Apples from New Zealand or China? Do you seek out local produce to reduce your ‘food miles’?
The amount of energy and resources used to produce your food (and everything else you consume) and the amount of waste produced can be measured and used to create your ‘ecological footprint’. We can measure this for communities, cities and countries. In short, your ecological footprint is measured in ‘global hectares per person’ and is a guide to how much of the earth’s limited resources your region is using up. The earths resources are called the available biocapacity.
Some of you may not be surprised to discover that by the mid 1980’s our global eco footprint began to exceed the earths biocapacity. This means we are building an ecological debt. The following facts and figures have been lifted from the Ecological Footprint Report from Penrith City Council.
The earths biocapacity is calculated at 1.73 global hectares per person. As Australians we have an average of nearly 6 global hectares per person. If you live in Penrith you use 5.36 global hectares per person. This means that if everyone lived like the people of Penrith we would need 3.10 PLANETS to sustain us.
Feel good about yourselves though Penrithians! On the whole you are better than the rest of the country which devours nearly 3.5 planets worth of resources. Are we totally crazy to be living like this?
Food consumption makes up the biggest proportion of most of our eco footprints and Brewongle has teamed up with Penrith City Council and a local business called Harvest Hampers to create an education resource for school students to help them wise up to consumption and waste issues. As part of this resource we have developed a video on local inititatives and farmers who are trying to keep our community connected to their food.
Here is an initiative that you might be able to help and be involved in right now. The Open Food Network.