Saturday, April 02, 2005

'Eating Oil'

Norman Church outlines the deep dependence of our worldwide food system on fossil fuels in this exhaustive piece on PowerSwitch. Besides the usual litany of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers all being made from fossil fuels, he zeroes in on things urban folks tend to overlook: water and transport. Water has to be pumped to irrigate many of our crops and that requires considerable energy. Then, of course, produce must go from farm to processor to wholesaler to retailer. And, there are added energy inputs at each level of food processing and handling. On the issue of transport, he points out that organically raised farm produce is much more energy efficient until it enters the global marketplace which transports it long distances in packaging made from petrol.

What would it take to wean ourselves from a food system so totally committed to fossil fuel use? Church thinks we will soon find out.

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