Here at TO Food Market, we strive to bring our customers the highest quality local foods in the most sustainable way possible. Our environmental impact is important to us, and now that the end of the year is approaching, we thought we’d take a look at how we compare to conventional grocery shopping.
In order to do this, let’s introduce the idea of “food kilometers”. Broadly speaking, food kilometers refer to the total distance food is transported from supplier to consumer. The longer food has to travel, the more harmful for the environment. Greenhouse gasses emitted from transportation, food that is wasted as a result of traveling long distances, plastic packaging and more all add to a food’s environmental footprint. This year, we’re focusing on food kilometers to assess our environmental impact.
In Canada, much of the food we find in our grocery stores comes from other countries, and is shipped over long distances to arrive on our plates. Roughly 80% of the fruit and veg we consume in Canada is imported, mostly from the United States. It’s estimated that produce has traveled a whopping 2,500km  before it reaches our kitchens!
We all know that greenhouse gasses are a big contributor to climate change, and transporting food over thousands of kilometers plays a role in adding these gasses into the atmosphere. Furthermore, according to a report by the World Resources Institute, conventional agriculture alone could raise global temperatures more than 1.5 °C , which would have devastating consequences for the environment.
So, how does TO Food Market measure up? We’ve done some calculations and created the charts below to show what kind of impact we’ve been able to achieve with our Vegetable & Fruit Market Box Subscriptions :
By our calculations, this season we’ve avoided 16,354 food kilometers and 386,389 kg of CO2 from being emitted. For perspective, that’s like saving 3 houses worth of emissions from electricity for an entire year or charging 2,085,366 smartphones! As far as greenhouse gas emissions avoided, that’s like recycling 714 bags of waste instead of allowing them to sit in landfills!
To put it another way, you would have to plant 270 tree seedlings and allow them to grow for 10 years to clear that much CO2 out of the air! We’re encouraged by these stats, and want to continue to grow with our community to have an even greater impact.
There are so many benefits to eating locally, from greater nutrition and food quality to boosting the local economy. But, the fact remains that the more people that choose to eat locally, the better we can protect and preserve our natural world.
We’d like to extend a special thanks to our farmers and vendors for making this season possible for us. Through remaining exclusively local, we were able to support the local economy and sustainable farming practices. A big thank you to our farmers and vendors at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers Market.
Last but certainly not least, we want to thank all of our customers for supporting local farming and helping us do our part for the environment. We’re looking forward to a busy 2020 season, and can’t wait to share the goodness of tasty, nutritious, straight-from-the-farmer-foods with more of our community!
Be a part of the change!
Purchase a subscription to our Vegetable & Fruit Market Boxes by visiting our shop.