By MALIK L. SHAH, age 9

Photo: FARMANAC
Photo: FARMANAC

Can the way we eat have an impact on our environment? Would it matter if the food you ate today came from very far away instead of just around the corner? Would it make a difference to our ecosystem if your snack arrived on your plate by airplane or cargo train, or if it was picked nearby? Advocates of the local foods movement believe it does make a difference. As Jen Maiser of the web blog Eat Local Challenge says, how something is grown, how it gets to you, and how the employees getting it to you were treated matters a lot. “It’s about having a sense of exactly where my food comes from.” Advocates argue that eating local helps reduce “food miles,” therefore reducing pollution from trains, planes and trucks.

“The thing about eating locally is that you’re reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” said Beatriz Beckford, director of organizing and policy initiatives at Brooklyn Food Coalition. “Trucks use a lot of gas and they release a lot of emissions when they drive long distances.”

Want to know what you can do?
Eat Locally: One way to help the environment is to eat foods that were grown nearby. For example, some foods you can get that are grown locally in New York in March include carrots, garlic and potatoes.

Eat Seasonally: Wait to eat fruits like strawberries and blueberries until they are in season.

Learn about where your food came from: Go to community gardens near your house where you will know where and how your vegetables were grown.

You can also grow food in your own house!