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petunia
Nov 8th, 2008, 12:00 AM
Hello all.

I have been thinking about the topic of local food a lot lately. Obviously, it is best to purchase and consume as much food grown in the area you live. Some reasons for this include: being in touch with how your food is produced, reducing carbon emissions, supporting your local economy, etc.

I live in Vancouver, British Columbia where the climate is mild but VERY, very rainy. It is not a very good climate for producing food. I'm sure everyone is familar with the book "100 mile diet" by Alisa Smith and JB Mackinnon... They are from Vancouver and I believe they were vegan (or maybe just veg) before beginning this project.

Anyway, while eating with 100 miles, they ate a great deal of potatoes, cheese, eggs (they also went to farms and found out how the animals were treated and purchased mainly from farms and farmers markets because they felt it important to see how their food was produced), what local vegtables there was available, fish and honey instead of sugar.

Now, I am a commited vegan, but sometimes I do wonder whether it is truely better for the environment, myself, my community, and maybe even animals, to be vegan, or to eat locally? An example of this is honey: (I know this is quite unvegan but I admit I care less about bees than about say, a cow) If you were to purchase honey that was produced 10 miles away from your home, it is surely better than to purchase sugar that was produced on the other side of the world by people living in inhuman conditions, etc,etc.

Obviously most people are quite removed from their food these days; they dont know how its produced, who grows it, etc. If there was no possibility of shipping food half way around the world (or even from california to here), it would be very difficult for me, in Vancouver, to be vegan. I wonder if that says something about whether or not its ethical to be vegan and eat food from far away, considering our current environmental and social state.

Please share your thoughts. Thank you.

bradders
Nov 11th, 2008, 03:17 AM
personally I would still rather avoid using anything that came from animals, I would continue to use products from distance but try to campaign for better use of the locale, if bees can survive then you can grow sugar beet which means you don't need to exploit the bees.
that's one example

Sarabi
Nov 17th, 2008, 04:05 AM
Why can't you do both? Both are vital to the survival of veganism. Supporting mass markets is generally supporting the same system that denies veganism. So either way, if you leave out one, you may be denying both in a sense.

Ruin
Nov 17th, 2008, 09:53 AM
I dunno... It depends on what's around you I guess.
I'm in Queensland, Australia and we have lots and lots and lots of sugar cane.

journey
Nov 19th, 2008, 06:45 PM
I agree with doing both. Vegan is my first consideration with food. Then, as long as it's vegan, I try to buy as much as I possibly can locally.

This also includes cutting way down on processed foods, because that's where each ingredient has travelled back and forth across the country, not to mention the product itself. Also, processed foods are less healthy and I'm getting so I just don't trust that they didn't sneak some bone char or something in somewhere that they're not required to list on the label.

I can't get everything locally, but do what I can - started making my own yogurt, but buy a container of commercial yogurt for starter every so often, things like that. But the first consideration is always that the product has to be vegan.

petunia
Dec 16th, 2008, 02:09 AM
hmmmm... interesting... thanks guys. :)

treaclemine
Dec 16th, 2008, 02:31 PM
hmmmm... interesting... thanks guys. :)

Things taken from animals can have a huge environmental impact - particularly animals which are ruminants, such as cows. That's because the animals 'belch' methane, which is 20 times more powerful for global warming than carbon dioxide.

However, tomatoes grown in a heated greenhouse can have as large a global warming impact per kilogramme as the bodies of cows. Also, salads transported by air freight have a huge environmental impact.

As a rule of thumb, the best bet is local and seasonal and plant-based food, grown in the open air.

Johnstuff
Dec 16th, 2008, 03:00 PM
Local Honey or imported sugar?

I think when bee's honey is taken from them it is replaced with (imported) sugar for the bees to eat.

If getting sugar was particularly bad for the environment then I think it'd be better to just learn to live without sweeteners. Get your sugar from fruit grown locally instead.

Zero
Dec 16th, 2008, 03:32 PM
My main reason for being vegan is the ethical argument with regard to animals, environment and health are kind of secondary. To me nothing stands up as well for veganism as the ethical argument. As you prove above Petunia, you can talk yourself around the environmental reasons for being vegan.

I look at environmental issues almost separate from being vegan. I try to buy my food locally and seasonally where it is possible and practical and recycle etc. The environmental choices that I make in my daily life don't seem to have a whole lot to do with being vegan, because frankly I don't even consider animal products as food.



(I know this is quite unvegan but I admit I care less about bees than about say, a cow) If you were to purchase honey that was produced 10 miles away from your home, it is surely better than to purchase sugar that was produced on the other side of the world by people living in inhuman conditions, etc,etc.

Personally I care about Bees, Cows and Humans in the same way, I don't want my actions to result in harm to any of them so I wouldn't want to consume cow's milk or honey as this would cause harm.



Obviously most people are quite removed from their food these days; they dont know how its produced, who grows it, etc. If there was no possibility of shipping food half way around the world (or even from california to here), it would be very difficult for me, in Vancouver, to be vegan. I wonder if that says something about whether or not its ethical to be vegan and eat food from far away, considering our current environmental and social state.

You are right about this, we are very disconnected from our food, where it comes from and how it is produced. I cannot say that all the products I buy are free of corporations exploiting human workers but I do look into this and buy fair trade as fair as possible, the system is a mess in this regard and it needs to be fixed, this is capitalism :(

seamus
Dec 20th, 2008, 03:09 AM
was it Al Gore who said that vegitarianism is more eco sound than eating local or something like that?

Buddha Belly
Dec 20th, 2008, 10:44 PM
The animal that has been slaughtered may of been local but in reality most animal feed is shipped in 100's of miles to feed them up. There is very few animals grazing naturally now. The way farmers are forced to work their land it is unsustainable for local eating to be utilised by even medium sized communities. one or two families are able to enjoy this lifestyle but it is impractical to a high percentage of the population of most western countries. There are areas of the UK that this is impossible, i lived in Cumbria for a while and to shop locally would mean a predominate sheep based diet. The UK's population is too high now for the land to produce enough for those that live here. There is only a small amount of land that is suitable for producing high yields year after year.

Get an allotment or turn some of the garden over to veg, the impact you make on the earth will be dropped significantly.

DiaShel
Dec 21st, 2008, 01:28 AM
Get an allotment
A what?

Risker
Dec 21st, 2008, 01:55 AM
^ It's a bit of land that the local council let you use for a small amount of money to grow food on.

DiaShel
Dec 21st, 2008, 02:46 AM
Oh, I don't think they do that here. At least I've never heard of such a thing

jodyk
Dec 21st, 2008, 04:16 AM
I think this is a great topic, thanks Petunia. I recently read "Animal Vegetable Mineral" by Barbara Kingsolver, and it did make me think a lot about food miles vs animal free. I am vegan for ethical reasons, which to me is equally environment and fairness to other beings, but sometimes I think my ethics are pretty skewed when I don't even know how far my quinoa has travelled and I'll buy non fair trade chocolate if there's no choice, yet I wouldn't buy milk chocolate ever - I'd just go without. I am really just adding my two cents of agreement to what's been said. I want to eat justly in all areas, but I think it is easier in some than others. Veganism is clear: just don't eat things to do with animals. Food miles and fair trade are more fuzzy to me - how far is too far, how unfair is too unfair. I also think that veganism is a choice made from privilege. I'd be embarrassed to explain to a Ugandan child soldier why they shouldn't consume animal products. None of this is me slagging veganism. I just wanted to express some of these things in a context where others might understand - normally the only "discussions" I get to have about veganism are me explaining that I really do get enough to eat :)

bradders
Dec 21st, 2008, 04:34 PM
Oh, I don't think they do that here. At least I've never heard of such a thing
I know they have something like it in NYC

harpy
Dec 21st, 2008, 05:10 PM
I think I've read about "community gardens" in some parts of the USA which would perhaps amount to the same thing?

Actually not all allotments in the UK are council-run; a couple of friends of mine have/had allotments that were rented from some kind of private trust.

dean bracher
Dec 21st, 2008, 08:38 PM
An interesting question, but ethics and morally are boundless and being vegan saves greatly on carbon emissions by not consuming methane producing cows, sheep, pigs and other farmed animals. As for honey, bees still are farmed and the ethics involved are the same as for cows. Sugar is a wasted subtance with no calorie value that causes addiction and lots of land that could be better used for crops of wheat, grains and nuts. While its not a perfect world, being vegan goes along way towards making it one and not everyone could live in an iddlic way as the people you have mentioned. That said, you can buy local as much as possible while being vegan and still have a much less carbon footprint as your meat-eater who usually will not care about any of these issues that you do. Stay vegan, its better for life and the planet.

Risker
Dec 21st, 2008, 10:54 PM
Sugar is a wasted subtance with no calorie value that causes addiction and lots of land that could be better used for crops of wheat, grains and nuts.

Sugar has 390 Calories per 100g. It's only better used for wheat, grains and nuts if that's what you want to eat, I enjoy having sweets and like eating for enjoyment not just nutrition - that would be boring.

bradders
Dec 21st, 2008, 10:59 PM
Sugar has 390 Calories per 100g. It's only better used for wheat, grains and nuts if that's what you want to eat, I enjoy having sweets and like eating for enjoyment not just nutrition - that would be boring.
amen to that

Zero
Dec 21st, 2008, 11:01 PM
was it Al Gore who said that vegitarianism is more eco sound than eating local or something like that?

As far as I know he completely ignores anything to do with this issue, yet another idiot flying around the world "educating" people about global warming yet contributing to the one of the top causes of it.

dean bracher
Dec 22nd, 2008, 01:17 AM
Sugar has 390 Calories per 100g. It's only better used for wheat, grains and nuts if that's what you want to eat, I enjoy having sweets and like eating for enjoyment not just nutrition - that would be boring.

I'm a vegan who loves the taste of food rather than the nuritional value..Any good cook would make something tasty with any ingredient and sometimes i eat cake, i like cake for it tastes good. Did anyone think that you can be a local vegan without those plane journeys, but where animals are used for food they have to be fed transported food.
I wonder if taste alone would be my consideration when faced with animal torture and abuse, i guess vegans don't have all the answers after all, shame really has i thought they did. Thats why we discuss these issues or do we just waste time talking rather than doing.

Roxy
Dec 22nd, 2008, 08:51 AM
As far as I know he completely ignores anything to do with this issue, yet another idiot flying around the world "educating" people about global warming yet contributing to the one of the top causes of it.

I know right. Mr Beefy Rancher himself.

Risker
Dec 22nd, 2008, 10:58 AM
Thats why we discuss these issues or do we just waste time talking rather than doing.

Sorry, I don't get your point, you made a statement basically stating that sugar was bad and worthless, I disagreed, that is discussing no?

sandra
Dec 22nd, 2008, 12:06 PM
If eating locally produced food meant I wasn't vegan then I wouldn't eat locally produced food.
To be honest I don't really care that much about the environment, but I do care about the torture and murder of animals, and that includes bees!