Freshness isn't the only reason that Chef May buys from growers and farmers in and around Clayoquot Sound. Naturally, Chef maintains that freshness is the single most important ingredient in any recipe. But freshness is not the only reason he insists on local supply. "When we buy locally-grown or farmed produce and protein, we don't just support our own communities, we reduce our personal carbon footprint as well," says May.
*Our personal carbon footprint is a calculation of the carbon dioxide emitted as a result of our activities - typically over a 12-month period. Carbon footprints can be calculated for anyone or anything. We can calculate a carbon footprint for a journey, an event, a whole business or a city. In all cases, the goal is to gauge impacts on the planet through global warming.
Footprints can be measured in two ways: The measure of direct emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, and the measure on indirect CO2 emissions from the whole lifecycle of products we use or consume - those associated with their manufacture and eventual breakdown.
For example, buying produce from a local artichoke farmer has a small footprint compared to buying artichokes from a farm in California. The amount of fossil fuel burned to service large commercial farms, and transport produce (oftentimes internationally) via refrigerated truck or aircraft, is enormous by comparison. Also, buying locally reduces the amount of energy needed to long-haul package, process and dispose of (spoiled in transit) non-local products as well.
So, the next time you hesitate to spend that little bit more to support your local farmers, fishermen, and growers - don't! The planet will thank you for it.
To calculate your own carbon footprint, visit one of these great on-line carbon footprint calculation tools: www.safeclimate.net/calculator/ carbonfootprint.com and www.southamptonsustainability.org/carboncalc.htm