It seems not just that many years ago, imported food was considered a status symbol, no matter what condition it was in when it finally arrived at the table. This was just as true in Eastern Europe, where I grew up. My mother used to be a “produce director” at one of the biggest grocery stores in town. Once in the blue moon she would bring home what everyone called “deficit” goods. Those included exotic nuts from India, baby fruit purées, and of course the mighty banana! Gosh you should have seen the looks in our eyes. My sister and I were more excited to see a banana than most people buying a brand new hybrid today.
Those days are long gone and now Europeans as well as Americans live in economies where food is so plentiful that we are faced with hundreds of choices of fruit and veggies from every corner of the globe. Things change but today we’re facing a very different dilemma. There is a growing awareness that the food that ends up on our dinner plates has a much higher price tag than what we actually pay for it with our hard earn dollars. What does this mean?
In many cases, Western society routinely purchases food that was grown more than 1000 miles away and transported to the local grocery store. While food prices in the store are relatively inexpensive, the environmental cost of transporting our food is often very high. You see, all these trucks, trains, and boats, all of which consume fossil fuels, are the primary methods for transporting large quantities of food around the world. Inevitably, transportation of these goods leave a trail of pollution and produce (more…)