Something I've been struggling with is my vegan lifestyle and the importance of the environment. Where do these two meet?
Certainly I know, and this has come into the media light recently, that a plant based diet has a less damaging environmental impact than the industrial production of meat (it even sounds less invasive doesn't it?).
"Roughly one-fifth of the world's land is used for grazing. That's twice the area used for growing crops."
"Feedlots cause water pollution. Nearly 21 per cent of the average Canadian's contribution to common water pollution is caused by meat consumption from high-density farms."
My concern for both animals and the planet does come out of an emotional response to seeing animals suffering and seeing the beauty of a town (namely the one I grew up in) destroyed by one company's pulp mill and oil refinery. While my choice to become vegan wasn't for environmental reasons, it does fit with how I try to live my life day to day.
The popularity of the 100 mile diet did make me more aware of where my food was coming from. This had both a positive and negative effect on me. I thought about how far my food was travelling (mostly in kilometers though since I tend to think in kms). Shopping at farmers' markets, as I had been doing, indicated that I was part of a change in our society to be aware of where our food comes from. My receipt for the delivery box of fresh produce charts the kms my food has travelled to reach me. But what about my tofu? My rice? My uh-oh indulgence in avocadoes? What about quinoa? Decaf organic tea? There's nothing local about these. Oh wait, my almond milk?! My daily foods come from all over North America. Who knows how much production and travel went into getting those products to my kitchen cupboards?
Last winter I made a concerted effort to stick with the seaonable foods. Apples, apples, apples and more apples. Lots of apple cider, juice and every variety of apple grown within 200 kms probably went through my kitchen. When the season changed and new fruits became available, the apples were no longer on my list and I've been holding off as long as possible because I know it will be weeks and weeks of apples (I promise to get more creative with them this winter).
100 mile dieters are omnivores and for me I don't see me getting enough in my diet by eating within 160.93 kms from my house.
I guess the questions for me are am I being conscious enough every time I shop and could I make more of an effort to find local sources of foods that will offer a healthy and varied vegan diet?
The pears are finishing and apple season is upon us. This weekend is the apple festival at UBC.
I don't think I'll be going (mainly because it's a long bus and skytrain hike from whoville to UBC.) but I will hopefully make another trip to the farmers' market to find out what's in season.