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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-29-07, 04:53 PM   #1
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Your average lettuce travels 1500 miles...

I read recently that our food items travel on average 1500 miles. That's right, before it got to your salad bowl, that lettuce did some serious travel by truck. Almost everything we eat comes from somewhere else.

Just wondering what we could do about that...
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Old 03-29-07, 04:58 PM   #2
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Some things are necessary though. Of course if you don't eat them, you don't need to have them carted right? For instance, sweet potatos won't grow here worth a crap. So we get them from Lousiiana. As well as banannas, oranges, and prostitutes. Actually, we have our own prostitutes in Detroit but they are a little over ripe.
I like my small garden and think alot can be acomplished if everyone had one. Nothing big, just a small plot with a few of my favorite vegies in it.
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Old 03-29-07, 05:47 PM   #3
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Some things are necessary though. Of course if you don't eat them, you don't need to have them carted right? For instance, sweet potatos won't grow here worth a crap. So we get them from Lousiiana. As well as banannas, oranges, and prostitutes. Actually, we have our own prostitutes in Detroit but they are a little over ripe.
I like my small garden and think alot can be acomplished if everyone had one. Nothing big, just a small plot with a few of my favorite vegies in it.
Need to get your Sweet 'taters from NC...we are closer than Louisiana I do agree that it is amazing how far some stuff travels. I make it part of my shopping to know where my stuff comes from and try to buy as close to home as possible. It is easier in the spring and summer months when the local farmer's market is open. They have the regulation that to be sold it has to have been grown or produced with in a 50 mile radius I do have my own garden(s) and I just put the bedding plants in the ground this week tomatoes, peppers and early corn, the rest will go in this weekend, more corn, squash, field peas, beans, broccoli, spinach and more potatoes (early ones went in 2 weeks ago) we probably grow 50% of our total veggies. Lettuce does not grow well around here due to the heat, but we do manage to get a few early in the season. Also have chickens for fresh eggs and are working on the goats for milk and cheese. I realize not everyone has the ability to raise these things in their locale and we are very fortunate to live where we do. But just about everybody could do a few containers of fresh veggies on a balcony or porch. BTW we do both square foot gardens and a larger one.

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Old 03-29-07, 06:02 PM   #4
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Need to get your Sweet 'taters from NC...we are closer than Louisiana I do agree that it is amazing how far some stuff travels. I make it part of my shopping to know where my stuff comes from and try to buy as close to home as possible. It is easier in the spring and summer months when the local farmer's market is open. They have the regulation that to be sold it has to have been grown or produced with in a 50 mile radius I do have my own garden(s) and I just put the bedding plants in the ground this week tomatoes, peppers and early corn, the rest will go in this weekend, more corn, squash, field peas, beans, broccoli, spinach and more potatoes (early ones went in 2 weeks ago) we probably grow 50% of our total veggies. Lettuce does not grow well around here due to the heat, but we do manage to get a few early in the season. Also have chickens for fresh eggs and are working on the goats for milk and cheese. I realize not everyone has the ability to raise these things in their locale and we are very fortunate to live where we do. But just about everybody could do a few containers of fresh veggies on a balcony or porch. BTW we do both square foot gardens and a larger one.

Aaron
If I had the option I'd likely chose a closer producer for out of season vegetables. But the only two grocers within biking distance get theirs from Louisiana.
Sometimes I miss where I came from. I grew up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky where my entire family lived on and worked the farm. About 30 of us or so, cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. We raised ALL of our vegetables and livestock, as well our made our own smoke and wine(s). those were the days, but are now long gone.
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Old 03-29-07, 06:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gerv
I read recently that our food items travel on average 1500 miles. That's right, before it got to your salad bowl, that lettuce did some serious travel by truck. Almost everything we eat comes from somewhere else.

Just wondering what we could do about that...
If you truly want a laugh, when I was driving refrigerated freight, the most profitable cargo I hauled was Fla Oranges to California, where I turned around and reloaded....(yep, you guessed it!) California Oranges to take to Fla!
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Old 03-29-07, 06:28 PM   #6
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If I had the option I'd likely chose a closer producer for out of season vegetables. But the only two grocers within biking distance get theirs from Louisiana.
Sometimes I miss where I came from. I grew up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky where my entire family lived on and worked the farm. About 30 of us or so, cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. We raised ALL of our vegetables and livestock, as well our made our own smoke and wine(s). those were the days, but are now long gone.
My family came out of an Iowa dairy farm I am currently living on my wife's family property. It originally was around 75 acres that they purchased for about $1 and acre way back in the 20's IIRC the monthly payment on it was something like $5 a month We live on the remaining 40 acres and are doing our best to protect it from suburban encroachment. The only saving grace at the moment is that we are surrounded on 3 sides by government land owned by Fort Bragg and they have no plans to develop it, they want it as a buffer zone from development. I don't know how much longer we can hold out...they have just issued development permits for about 10,000 new homes to be built in the next 5-7 years on near by land. Fort Bragg is growing...as long as we can maintain the agricultural status we should be okay. When the family first got the land they farmed with a mule, grew cotton, corn, and tobacco. We still have a mule named Charlie, who is supposedly a descendant of one of the original ones. Right now his sorry butt is living the life of Riley, but that may change in the future

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Old 03-29-07, 09:17 PM   #7
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Square foot gardening Rules!

We have a 15-18 foot plot at our house. You would be amazed at how much you can grow. And part of it is getting used to different things. There are things that don't grow well in our garden, so we eat what does grow well.

Think about our history. 100 years ago or so there wasn't this capability for people to ship food everywhere. So people ate what grew locally and didn't eat the things that didn't. And they seemed to get by.

I have found foods that nobody eats anymore that are just downright yummy because I grew it.

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Old 03-29-07, 09:28 PM   #8
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If you truly want a laugh, when I was driving refrigerated freight, the most profitable cargo I hauled was Fla Oranges to California, where I turned around and reloaded....(yep, you guessed it!) California Oranges to take to Fla!
That, right there, is consumerism.
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Old 03-29-07, 11:29 PM   #9
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yeah, i read about this in a mag...the cheapest mode of transport turns out to be by ship...which means that getting grapes from Chile is cheaper than grapes from California (transported by truck)

if i was supposed to eat what grows around here...it be rocks and sand with a sprinkling of creosote for some color
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Old 03-30-07, 05:44 AM   #10
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Square foot gardening Rules!

We have a 15-18 foot plot at our house. You would be amazed at how much you can grow. And part of it is getting used to different things. There are things that don't grow well in our garden, so we eat what does grow well.

Think about our history. 100 years ago or so there wasn't this capability for people to ship food everywhere. So people ate what grew locally and didn't eat the things that didn't. And they seemed to get by.

I have found foods that nobody eats anymore that are just downright yummy because I grew it.



-D
Derath, when you say you have a 15-18 foot plot, does that mean 15 by 15 or 18 by 18?

I am reading the Square Foot Gardening book and have recently sectioned off my veggie garden in squares. I have kept a garden for the last 5 years, but last year the yield was terrible... I probably spent too much time on my bike and too little weeding. I'm going to give this methodology a try... set what happens. One great thing about SFG is that you can get a lot of veggies out of a small space. He argues that most suburban gardens are too big!!

I just set 4 lettuce seeds in pots on my deck. My wife has had great results growing herbs and tomatoes in pots, so I'm going to try it with some early lettuce.
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Old 03-30-07, 08:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
We still have a mule named Charlie, who is supposedly a descendant of one of the original ones.
How did this happen? Was the horse parent a descendant of the original horse parent and the donkey parent a descendant of the original donkey parent?
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Old 03-30-07, 09:01 AM   #12
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Derath, when you say you have a 15-18 foot plot, does that mean 15 by 15 or 18 by 18?

I am reading the Square Foot Gardening book and have recently sectioned off my veggie garden in squares. I have kept a garden for the last 5 years, but last year the yield was terrible... I probably spent too much time on my bike and too little weeding. I'm going to give this methodology a try... set what happens. One great thing about SFG is that you can get a lot of veggies out of a small space. He argues that most suburban gardens are too big!!

I just set 4 lettuce seeds in pots on my deck. My wife has had great results growing herbs and tomatoes in pots, so I'm going to try it with some early lettuce.

Yea mine is pretty big. I rarely have planted more than 50% of it and still get more food than I can handle. The rest of the space I plant useful flowers etc that attrack certain insects so that I don't have to use pesticide. My garden is 100% chemical free!

Anyhow, my garden space is 15ftx18ft. I blocked it off with pretty 1 foot square pavers for walking areas so it looks nice and pretty. I ended up with somewhere in the range of 190 squares for planting.

-D
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Old 03-30-07, 11:19 AM   #13
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Anyhow, my garden space is 15ftx18ft. I blocked it off with pretty 1 foot square pavers for walking areas so it looks nice and pretty. I ended up with somewhere in the range of 190 squares for planting.
-D
Mine *was* about 20 by 24, but, as I say, it was a little too large for me. I dismantled a small greenhouse my son and I built and I am using two walls as "squares". So now I will have two "squares" of 6*10ft sectioned into 2 by 3 beds. It's not exactly the 4 by 4 squares recommended in the book, but I think I can further subdivide it to get it working. I think a smaller garden more intensively worked (and weeded) would work better for me.
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Old 03-30-07, 11:20 AM   #14
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Riding a Greyhound a few weeks back, I met a guy who runs all around South America and Mexico buying up groceries for American distributors. Meanwhile, folks down there often can't match our level of demand, so they can't afford to buy their own products once they start getting sold at the prices our economy drives them up to. It's only going to get worse too: once we start relying on corn for fuel, tortilla prices in Mexico will shoot through the roof, and the average Mexican family will have trouble affording many food staples. Hopefully they can hop over our shiny new fence before they starve.
:-(

My mother has an unbelievable take on all this: "why don't we just buy Mexico? Then we won't have to take their crap anymore, and we can make money off of all of their tourist spots!" Unbelievable.
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Old 03-30-07, 11:33 AM   #15
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Every community in America has locally grown food available. The trick is finding it. You need to go to your city market and local farmer's markets. With just a little searching, you'll soon find sources for most of the food you need, all grown withing 50 miles of your home. But you do have to get out there and look.

One advantage is how much fun it is to find the good stuff. When I go to local farmer's markets, my bike gets to wait next to lots of other bikes, so it never gets lonely. There's live music while you shop, sometimes even theatre. The growers love to tell you about their crops and share recipes. Community groups have booths to inform you of what's going on in your neighborhood. It's an atmosphere a lot like the old street fairs, and I feel like I'm sharing in a tradition that goes back thousands of years.
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Old 03-30-07, 12:03 PM   #16
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How did this happen? Was the horse parent a descendant of the original horse parent and the donkey parent a descendant of the original donkey parent?
Yep, came from the same family of breeders too We have a pretty strong mule community in our county, one family has been breeding for over 100 years from the same farm and have book after book of written records.

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Old 03-30-07, 12:32 PM   #17
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Living in Alaska, there's no alternative but to eat at least some imported fruits and veges. For a start, almost no fruit grows here. And the vegetable season is short. I buy a lot of local spuds, carrots and cabbage. But the bananas, apples, etc. are all barged up. On the plus side, barging is a pretty efficient means of transport. I avoid the more delicate fruits that must be flown up, mostly because they're amazingly expensive.
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Old 03-30-07, 02:14 PM   #18
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There is a farmers market half a mile down the road from me. I head over there often. They sell Georgia grown produce which not only is cheaper but fresher than store bought produce. Luckily, I can get my food almost year round. Produce isnt good from the market during our peak winter months though. Buy Local!!
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Old 03-30-07, 03:02 PM   #19
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Trucks are really efficient at moving crap, trains even more so, and f'n cargo ships are crazy. I think growing stuff in the proper climate and then moving it is much less energy intensive compared to trying grow it in areas it's not suited to. All told, I think business accounts for less than 10% of liquid fuel consumption. We're o.k. when it comes down to moving stuff, it's moving people where we waste a lot of energy. Of course, this is by design. Maximization of consumption allows for minimization of risk and maximization of profits.

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Old 03-30-07, 03:18 PM   #20
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Surprise: your average bike travels 15,000 miles from Asia.
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Old 03-30-07, 08:14 PM   #21
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Surprise: your average bike travels 15,000 miles from Asia.
Not mine...they only traveled about 3,000 miles from England I do have a couple of Tawain built ones though But my primary bikes are English built.

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Old 03-30-07, 08:20 PM   #22
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Every community in America has locally grown food available. The trick is finding it. You need to go to your city market and local farmer's markets. With just a little searching, you'll soon find sources for most of the food you need, all grown withing 50 miles of your home. But you do have to get out there and look.

One advantage is how much fun it is to find the good stuff. When I go to local farmer's markets, my bike gets to wait next to lots of other bikes, so it never gets lonely. There's live music while you shop, sometimes even theatre. The growers love to tell you about their crops and share recipes. Community groups have booths to inform you of what's going on in your neighborhood. It's an atmosphere a lot like the old street fairs, and I feel like I'm sharing in a tradition that goes back thousands of years.

Roody is absolutely correct; the social networking that I have done with the local gardeners keeps the family well supplied throughout the year. Anyone who gardens successfully can attest to the overabundance of produce that at times cannot be given away fast enough.

To the OP, I could care less if the trucks stopped shipping Iceburg lettuce to the stores tommorrow because the nutritional value is so dubious. To my surprise, our local veterinarian recently told my daughter not to feed her herbivorous lizard store bought lettuce because it is practically useless in meeting the animals nutritional needs Seriously, anyone can attest to the superiority of truly fresh vegetables over what the mega-farms can turn out.
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Old 03-31-07, 06:37 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
If you truly want a laugh, when I was driving refrigerated freight, the most profitable cargo I hauled was Fla Oranges to California, where I turned around and reloaded....(yep, you guessed it!) California Oranges to take to Fla!
Although that's a really extreme (and dumb) example, it nicely illustrates the biggest problem in food transportation--truckers are paid by the mile. You can't find a trucker willing to move a load for less than 500 miles or so. This explains why here, in the heart of NYS Apple country, we frequently see Washington apples in the store. Personally, I'll skip apples if they aren't from NYS.

There's a food cooperative here that's addressing that for local farmers, but they can afford only so many trucks, so most farmers are still forced to sell out-of-state, and most grocers are forced to buy from out-of-state.
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Old 03-31-07, 06:45 AM   #24
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Roody is absolutely correct; the social networking that I have done with the local gardeners keeps the family well supplied throughout the year. Anyone who gardens successfully can attest to the overabundance of produce that at times cannot be given away fast enough.
Anybody want some zucchini? ...I don't plant that anymore, one year we literally had bushels of it and couldn't give it to anyone, in fact when saw us coming with a brown paper bag, they would get this "look" on their faces and start stammering

Aaron
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Old 03-31-07, 08:52 AM   #25
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Every community in America has locally grown food available. The trick is finding it.
It can sometimes be quite a trick. We occasionally buy local apples, but it usually means having to drive out to the orchard. Often the orchard is 20-40 miles from home. We also buy a pig once or twice a year from a local farmer. The pig is usually free-range and antibiotic-free and the farmer delivers (well, actually we usually have to meet him somewhere in town.) Problem with both the pig and the apples is that both require some sort of extra refrigeration.

I think the local farmer's market would be a better solution. We have them here, but I notice that they don't always have local produce... but they do have some and this would probably be a better way to get produce including the pigs and apples.
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