Home Grocery Delivery and the Environment

grocery, produce, food, delivery With the advanced continuation of modern technology and the boom of more and more businesses offering home delivery services for convience, its really nothing that you can't get sent to your home. Everything from clothes, appliances, and even supplies for your pet, the need to go out and shop has now been narrowed down to three clicks for overnight shipping. Specialty and artisan foods have been available online for years and you can order your favorite savory or sweet imports and have them just in time for your dinner party Saturday night. But what if you can order every fresh ingredient you can find in the grocery store and have it delivered right to your door?  This option may become a way of life, according to an article post on The Salt, NPR's food blog.  

Grocery home delivery may now be the new thing to do, and also a great way to help the environment. Food delivery along with shared transportation can cut carbon dioxide emissions by half, compared to having a human household get in a car and driving to the store. According to the article, ordering your groceries online and using the delivery system of shared transportation, the deliveries are clustered according to neighborhoods and delivered along delivery routes. The clustered routes produce 90% less CO2 emission, and also allows the convience of not having to pick up your groceries. This also encourages an abundance of community - supported agriculture.

Although not available yet in all cities, the home grocery delivery concept will be the future of food. With the ongoing popularity of farmers markets, new restaurants and celebrity chefs branching out into several different communities, it has never been easier to enjoy fresh delicious food.

Would you use the home grocery delivery system? Let us know by Tweeting @MarcusCooks

Best Cookware To Help You Go Green

By: Allana Mortell

Earth Day is just a few days away and while you may be thinking of direct ways to celebrate this date, such as planting, beach clean-ups, etc, there are some other ways you can go green this year right in your own kitchen! While purchasing new cookware, consider more eco-friendly products that will not only put less stress on the environment to create but can also benefit your health in the end.

In terms of cookware (pots, pans, nonstick, stainless steel, etc), the options are endless and shopping for said items can quickly become overwhelming. One factor to be kept in consideration is teflon-free cookware. In the past five years, a relationship between cancers, liver toxicants and other icky chemicals appeared with materials in non-stick cookware. Once that material, such as teflon, degrades or is heated, it releases Perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, which can be found in the food you eat and has been linked to thyroid disruption and cancer, to name a few.

So if you're looking to go green with your kitchenware, check out some of our favorites below...

Ecolution: To compensate for the PFOA coating, this eco-friendly company prides themselves and their hydrolon-coated products on a "Cook Well. Do Good" campaign. Their aluminum pans are coated with a water-based, non-stick coating that allows for even-heating and is dishwasher safe. Additionally, their packaging is printed on 70% recycled materials and their website features a "Do Good" campaign, which discusses ways to renew, reuse and recycle all old cookware products.

Earthpan: Based on sandflow, non-stick technology,  all of these PFOA-free pans are coated with a non-stick layer of product derived primarily from sand. This Australian manufactured brand heats up to 25% higher than its competitors making it ideal for high-heat cooking. The products are all dishwasher safe and industry results show Earthpan outlasting other eco-friendly cookware 3:1. With options ranging from woks to frying pans and French skillets, the Earthpan cookware is ideal for any kitchen trying to remain eco-friendly.

Cuisinart "GreenGourmet": Instead of being petroleum based, this line of cookware from the culinary giant Cuisinart is ceramic based, making it completely free of PFOA. The ceramic coating is applied at a temperature of half that of traditional non-stick pans yet the hard andodized construction provides extreme high heat conductivity. That specific construction ultimately requires less energy to reach desired cooking temperatures. Finally, the stainless handles are made from 70% recycled stainless steel, making it easy to grip and safe on the environment.

Scanpan Cookware: The "Green Tek" line of products from this popular cookware destination are all ultimately PFOA free. Even though Scanpan has always eliminated PFOA in their coating, the ceramic and titanium non-stick surface of this new line is made from a compound that eliminates any need for PFOA entirely. Additionally, all of the products managed by Scanpan are made from recycled aluminum.

Preserve Plastic Products: Made from 100% recycled and recyclable #5 BPA-free plastic, all of the food storage and kitchen items featured in Preserve's line of products are lead and PFOA free. With the same idea as Ecolution, this company rears its angle on "Nothing Wasted, Everything Gained." By reducing, reusing and recycling old products, the #5 plastic is sorted, cleaned and tested until eventually being turned into new preserve products. By choosing preserve products over traditional plasticware, you are gaining significantly less oil, gas and water used in making plastic alongside a sizable reduction in greenhouse gases emitted.

What are your tips for going green?

Photo:  theloushe

For more healthy tips, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

To Fish or To Mine?: Saving Bristol Bay and Alaska's Fishing Industry

By: Michael Engle

Alaska is the site of an ongoing political battle, between two opposing interest groups, that will shape the state, national, and world economy for generations. Its legacy will be profound, as this economic decision will determine Alaska's course in fishing or mining.

Bristol Bay lies northwest of the Aleutian Mountain Range; it is separated from the Gulf of Alaska by the Alaska Peninsula. It is, currently, Alaska's most vital fishing ground, as it houses rainbow trout and five distinct varieties of salmon. Fishing in Bristol Bay has been identified as an important economic activity, accounting for 75% of local jobs, and $175 million per year to the economy. It is the center of a cultural tradition, as 2009 marked the 125th anniversary of local fishing. Bristol Bay also carries great international importance. In 2008, National Geographic identified Bristol Bay as one of only three "well-maintained" fisheries in the world. The other two are located in Iceland and New Zealand.

On the other hand, the Bristol Bay network is also home to large reserves of presently unmined natural resources. There is gold and copper within the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers, which both flow into Bristol Bay.  If the Pebble Limited Partnership were to be allowed to proceed with its construction, the Pebble Mine would represent Alaska's largest mine. However, it is almost assured that any infusions to the Alaskan economy from the new mining would be offset by losses within the fishing industry. Mining would cause many disturbances to the local ecology, as it would not only produce large amounts of waste, but it would also require the construction of new dams (which are not guaranteed to survive earthquakes of a typical magnitude, relative to Alaska), while greatly disrupting the fishes' spawning grounds.

In a recent election in October 2011, the local Alaskan population passed the Save Our Salmon initiative, which subsequently prohibited the Lake and Peninsula Borough from issuing permits to mining projects that would negatively impact the fishing industry. It remains to be seen whether or not this election will serve as anything more binding than a straw poll, because the state legislature has the power to form economic policy that would override the local government. For now, even though the area's course of economic action is still to be decided, the locals have indeed voiced their opinion--by a vote of 280 to 246, the residents of the Lake and Peninsula Borough of Alaska prefer to forgo the area's mining possibilities, in favor of maintaining its fishing.

For more about Bristol Bay's fishing industry, click here. To read about the environmental impacts of a prospective mine, click here.

Photo:FishPhotog

For more on food politics, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

American Beef Industry is Now More Eco-Friendly

By: Justin Chan

The American beef industry has had a history of disproving misperceived notions, and it seems as if it will continue to do so. While much of the focus has been on beef's connection to heart disease and cancer, NPR reported that a new study conducted by Jude Capper, an assistant professor of dairy science at Washington State University, revealed that the production of beef has been more eco-friendly than ever.

The study comes at a time when some are wondering whether this planet will be able to support a growing population. In her study, Capper pointed out that cattlemen now use 12 percent less water, 19 percent less feed, 33 percent less land and 9 percent less fossil fuel energy. "[The industry] knows far better how to care for, feed and manage cattle," she said.

Despite its positive outlook, the report has come under criticism from some of Capper's peers. While several environmentalists agree that beef production is now more effective, there are questions concerning other methods that are used in the process. Antibiotics are being increasingly used to treat cows that are forced to rely on a diet that consists of simply corn. This, in turn, has a harmful effect on people who consume such kind of tainted beef, said Chuck Benbrook, chief scientist at The Organic Center.

Some critics insist that beef production is still inefficient compared to other kinds of meat production. Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that Capper's study fails to address the aftereffects of beef production. "Feedlots often put way too much manure on nearby crops - more than can be absorbed - and it goes through into the groundwater or runs into streams," he said. Capper, whose study was partly funded by the beef industry, said that it is difficult to check the effects of cattle manure on groundwater. Still, she said, farms now release less phosphorus and nitrogen.

The Environmental Protection Agency is already working on a proposal that would further regulate water usage in animal feeding operations. The new rules would require such operations to provide detailed water quality data that would help the agency determine whether the operations are adhering to standard procedures. As the agency, factories and farms become more aware of their responsibilities to the environment, consumers are now looking for "greener" ways to eat meat products like beef.

Photo: Rennett Stowe

For more food news, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

5 Food Tips to Go Green in 2012

With all of the personal resolutions we may have made during this New Year, one of the best one's we can make may not be very personal at all. One resolution you can make can actually help the entire planet with just a little effort. Why not resolve to take a few easy steps to go green this year?

While often times we think of going green by only involving large projects like recycling, carpooling, and changing our appliances to save energy, a lot of the small projects you can also partake in fact involve food. Altadena Patch mentions many ways you can go green, but we chose 5 food tips you can do to help the environment just a little more this year. Check them out below:

Plant a garden: While planting a whole garden can seem daunting, you can start small by planting a herb garden. Starting small can help prepare you for a larger task like growing vegetables, which can be a larger goal for later on in the year. If you wanted to start right away with your gardening goals, read out article here on tips for building the perfect winter garden.

Compost: What better way to fertilize the garden you just planted than with your homemade fertilizer?  Although the word composting might sound complicated, the process is actually quite simple. Check out our article here on how to get started.

Reduce your meat consumption:  An estimated 3/4 of the world's agricultural land is devoted to feeding and/or raising livestock.  By cutting down on our meat consumption and using the livestock-land for human agricultural purposes, the global crop output would be substantially higher. You can start slow by participating in Meatless Mondays. Read here for more reasons why a little less meat in your diets can help the planet.

Buy local products: While eating organic can first appear to be the solution to going green, buying organic foods that aren't necessarily in season may mean that the product was flown or driven from hundreds or even thousands of miles away, only increasing pollution into the atmosphere from transportation. Buying locally, like from a local farmers market, ensures that there are minimum transportation costs of your food and since it is grown locally can also assure you that the produce will be in season. Click here for tips on how to eat more locally.

Drink tap water: Plastic water bottles create tons of environmental strain every year. By consuming less bottled water and drinking tap or filtered water, you can help reduce pollution in the environment as well as help conserve natural water resources that are often used in bottled water. A water filter and reusable water bottle can help you save significant amounts of money and help keep the world cleaner. Read here on other ways conserving water can help the environment.

What are some other ways you can go green this year?

Photo: bookgrl

For more healthy tips, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)