By 10 am this morning, it was almost 100 degrees in Nasvhille (for daily updates on ridiculous worldwide temperatures, check out Bill McKibben’s Twitter). Thanks to our wonderful hosts, however, we all awoke in cool, dry sleeping bags and were dropped off clean and well-rested at the Green Wagon where we’d left the Bus. Johnny (of the Green Wagon) and Ari had set up an awesome event with food and drinks provided by Yazoo Beer and the Terra Delicious Organic Food Truck and a series of timed workshops on sustainability, hydroponics and permaculture hosted by the Bus, Landscape Solutions, and Nashville Foodscapes. Thanks to the online workshop sign-ups coordinated by Johnny and Ari ahead of time, even though it was 108 degrees by midday, a fair number of Nasvhill-ites and many members of Nasvhille’s Urban Green Lab came out to talk with us.
So far, today was my favorite “park and talk” event. Because of the planned workshops, instead of having just a few minutes to talk to passerby’s, we had groups for 20 minutes or more. We set up stations on Food, Fuel, Energy, and Waste and paired up to each man a station for the day. At the Food station, Remy and I talked with people about the carbon footprint of food. We started by asking everyone what they had eaten for breakfast and from where they thought their breakfast had come. Most people (including myself) had little idea about the harvesting, processing, packaging, and flying that their food had been through before making its way into the kitchen. There was one man who put us all to shame however. His breakfast consisted of eggs laid by chickens in his backyard and organic, grass-fed beef from a farm 20 miles down the road. Yay for thoughtful eating! Afterwards, we split the group into teams and they raced to order a list of foods from highest to lowest carbon footprint. As we went over the correct answers, we discussed how eating organic, unpackaged, unprocessed and vegetarian food can reduce the carbon footprint of your meals. Many people were surprised to find out that shipping only makes up a very small part of most food’s carbon footprint and that some foods, like rice, are carbon intensive simply because of the way they are grown. Ultimately, I think it was very empowering for people to start thinking more about what they eat. When it comes to food, we are inundated with a million confusing choices and opposing messages that can be hard to tease apart. Learning about concrete ways that you can reduce your impact makes a least a few of those choices that much easier!
Until next time,