Rebuilding your food chain

A while ago, I watched a video about grocery store logistics. Part of the operating philosophy of a grocery store is that if they stock something, they want to stock it year-round. For produce like oranges, this means they source them from different regions depending on the active growing seasons around the year. When oranges are in season domestically, you have shorter shipping times, and therefore lower costs and fresher oranges. But when they’re out of season, they get them shipped internationally, which costs more money and leaves you with not-as-fresh fruit.

When I watched this video, I thought they could save a lot of money and emissions if more grocery stores just didn’t offer certain products for parts of the year. People would certainly be able to make do with whatever was in season. Personally, I don’t buy fruit at the higher prices anyway, and things like oranges are really only worth it to me when they’re in season and fresher.

Photo credit: Jpbrigand

Thinking more about regenerative agriculture this week, I started wondering about what I could grow in my region. I live in zone 4, which is a colder zone, but I could grow potatoes, allia like onion and garlic, and various pulses, which could form a good basis for a home-grown diet. Many fruits, veggies, and herbs can be grown here over the summer too. Mushrooms you can grow pretty much anywhere, and I love mushrooms, so that would be great to figure out.

Even if I don’t go full self-sufficient permaculture, I want to learn to shrink the distance my food has to travel to get to me. It would be great to grow what I can, and then find more efficient sources for things I can’t. For example, I wouldn’t want to give up cooking with olive oil, and you can’t grow olives in zone 4. But I could probably do my research and buy just American-grown olive oil.

Do you know where your food’s coming from? Have you taken steps to reduce the length of your “food chain”? Do you notice when the grocery store fruit is more expensive & less fresh? Let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​