Is not all bad, according to a recent op-ed in the New York Times (check the original blog post for sources of statistics cited). The author points out that agriculture accounts for just two percent of the nation’s energy use and comprises approximately the same total land area as a century ago, yet feeds three times as many Americans and exports more than 10 times as much food as the “system” did in 1910.
As the chart below indicates, the primary user of energy in the food chain is the home, and not, say, transportation. The author, who apparently lives on a farm and grows a good portion of his own food, supports growing and eating “local” but thinks that it is perfectly okay to truck in lettuce from California and raspberries from Mexico – and is a bargain to boot.
SLHI is a big supporter of community gardens and eating locally grown, healthy food, but the author makes a valid point. In terms of crafting public policy that supports active living and healthy eating, we should be more concerned with what – and how much – we eat than a narrow focus on where the food originates alone.