Our previous podcast, "You Eat What You Are, Pt. 1,"explored how American food got so bad, how it’s begun to get much better, and who has the answers for further improvement.
Now it's time for "You Eat What You Are, Part 2." (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript below.)
In this installment, we look at the challenge of feeding 7 billion people while protecting the environment, especially from all the pollution associated with the long-distance transportation of all that food. In that regard, it would seem that going local is a no-brainer -- until you start to look at the numbers.
We begin with David Cleveland, an environmental studies professor at U.C.-Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara County grows $1.2 billion worth of produce a year, putting it in the top 1 percent of U.S. counties. Cleveland started out simply trying to learn how much of the produce consumed locally was also produced locally:
CLEVELAND: This is what really shocked us: we found that when you added up all these different ways in which locally grown produce got to people in Santa Barbara County, that less than five percent of the fruits and vegetables consumed in Santa Barbara County were actually grown in Santa Barbara County, and the other ninety-five percent were imported.