The interdependency between oil and food is not one that the average American really understands. In reality, our food travels on average over 1500 miles from field to plate. This is a huge impact on the environment but that is only one of many ways that oil shows up in our food.
Recently, an article in the Oregonian newspaper highlighted how much oil goes into our food: To feed every American, 400 gallons are necessary in the following ways:
33% of the 400 gallons goes to fertlizers
20% of the 400 gallons goes to operate machinery like tractors
16% of the 400 gallons goes to transport food
13% of the 400 gallons goes to irrigation processes
8% of the 400 gallons goes to raise livestock
5% of the 400 gallons goes to pesticides
5% of the 400 gallons goes to miscellaneous needs.
With over 275 million people @ 400 gallons each, it is easy to see that local food production can have a serious impact on our oil dependency. Add to that changes in growing methods towards more organic vs. industrial farming using tons of pesticides and fertlizers and again our need for oil can also be reduced.
Its up to us--the choices we make in how our foods are grown and where our foods are grown can be proactive. Make an attempt to buy local, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm, grow some of your own food in Earthboxes, buy organic whenever possible. Every choice you make can reduce your 400 gallons and if enough of us do this, it could have a serious impact while improving our communities and environments!