The following is an opinion post by Catherine McQueen. Catherine is the co-owner of the Green Leaf Inn; first net-zero energy hotel being built in North America and a passionate advocate for sustainable living.
Creating a Sustainable Communities To-Do list: Talk to your local grocery store about their produce.
Sometimes you come upon an idea that is so brilliant and yet so simple, that you wonder why no one has thought of it before. Last year, Paul Lightfoot, CEO of Bright Farms, gave a brilliantly simple TED talk – with a concept that everyone interested in creating sustainable communities should pay attention to. At no cost to the grocery store, Bright Farms builds hydroponic greenhouses on the roof or next to the store, to grow and supply fresh vegetables, full of flavor and nutrition, and picked the same day they are purchased. The only obligation the grocery store has is to purchase the fresh produce to sell in their store. The grower would be a farmer from the same community. There would be fewer miles, trucks, less diesel, less food borne illnesses, less devastation of the land from fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides, and more local jobs.
Time for a Revolution
The company members of Bright Farms consider themselves revolutionaries – as well they should, because breaking the toxic cycle of the way this country grows and delivers fresh vegetables to grocery stores will need revolutionaries. They are people who are angry about the tasteless, poor nutritional food this country has been taught to accept. They are people passionate enough that they are willing to fight the ignorance and waste of this country’s centralized system of agriculture and shatter the paradigm that makes it acceptable to grow food not for quality, but instead for its ability to travel thousands of miles.
Is it affordable? Yes, the prices of this new way of producing food are competitive, simply because the food is grown where it will be eaten. Bright farms is supported by an impressive list of Investors who range from private national companies to the Oscar nominated director of the movie Food, Inc.
It seems only logical that if we are going to be able to solve the problems with our planet and our communities, we need to focus on improving the food we eat first. Have your community contact them. Talk to your local grocery store about their supply chain. We should all be revolutionaries when it comes to nutritious food and sustainability.
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