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Two Apples’ Journeys to the Big Apple. Comparing the sustainability of  Local Conventionally-Grown vs. Washington Organic Produce. Alison Hard and Veronica Hylton. Local vs. Organic – What’s the Answer?. “Localvorism” & Organic foods movement in America

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two apples journeys to the big apple

Two Apples’ Journeys to the Big Apple

Comparing the sustainability of  Local Conventionally-Grown vs. Washington Organic Produce

Alison Hard and Veronica Hylton

local vs organic what s the answer
Local vs. Organic – What’s the Answer?
  • “Localvorism” & Organic foods movement in America
  • Concern with what goes into out food (chemicals).
  • What about the resources that go into producing our food?
the local conventional route stuart s farm
The Local Conventional Route: Stuart’s Farm
  • Located in Granite Springs, NY
  • 44.1 miles from Upper West Side Whole Foods Market
  • Produces about 7,500 bushels of apples per season.
  • Conventional farm: does not meet the qualifications of organic farming, typically uses antibiotics and pesticides
the organic route craveorganics
The Organic Route: CraveOrganics
  • Located in Royal City, Washington
  • 2,710 miles from Upper West Side Whole Foods Market
  • Produces about 550 bushels of apples per season
usda definition of organic
USDA Definition of Organic
  • USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) definition, April 1995: “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.Organic is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole. Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water. Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.”
why ecological footprint accounting
Why Ecological Footprint Accounting?
  • Compares the cost of each method of apple production to available biocapacity (earth’s available resources).
  • Creates a single, clear indicator of sustainability that incorporates the complex series of processes involved in apple production.
the problem with ef on a local scale
The Problem with EF on a Local Scale
  • Unreliable data reporting from farms.
  • Difficulty of converting different consumption factors (i.e.grams of fertilizer, Joules of fuel) into a single number.
  • Flaws in Ecological Footprint Accounting as a relatively new method.
our solution calculating consumption per apple
Our Solution: Calculating Consumption per Apple
  • To compare the consumption of the two farms, we decided to calculate the ratio between the amount of materials or energy used in each process of farming the apples to the number of apples produced for the given orchard.
  • We will then compare the ratio of consumption for the two farms to each other to determine which farm consumes the most of each resource.
major factors in consumption
Major Factors in Consumption
  • GAS!! Gasoline & diesel used to grow, cultivate & transport apples is the biggest resource consumed
    • Transportation efficiency matters: more apples sent at once from Washington consume less diesel than the same number of apples sent from local farms in small loads
    • Mechanical labor
      • Organic farms tend to use less mechanical labor
      • mid-size & large farms can hire more people & depend less on machinery
where do we go from here
Where Do We Go From Here?
  • Farmers & other business owners can keep better track of their resource consumption by keeping a record of all materials & energy consumed
    • Including lights & heat used in buildings where products are packaged
  • Develop better formulas for comparing resources consumed to available resources
    • Easy to use, yet comprehensive
    • Based on accessible data