Green Iowa Team helps at Food Hub
By Briana Burke, Green Iowa Americorps Member
Every year, the American food system uses about the same amount of energy as the entire country of France- that’s a lot of energy! Although our Green Iowa Americorps team has taken a COVID hiatus from home energy efficiency, their work helping Food Hub and local farmers still relates back to energy issues in our community. Food Hub is a part of the ISU extension that focuses on promoting our local food systems by connecting local growers with big buyers such as the school district. Since the Winneshiek Farmers Market has not opened, many community members are missing their farm fresh goods, and many farmers depend on that income.
To fill this need in the community, Food Hub has set up an online ordering system that allows people to order directly from local farmers. Every Saturday, Food Hub has a curbside pick up option, or home delivery. Even though this does not have the same cultural and social aspects of the farmer’s market, it is a safe option for people to continue buying local foods- which is essential for our community’s economy, our health, and the environment.
In Iowa, it is estimated that 90% of our food is imported. Buying local foods keeps more money in our local economy, and generates jobs in our area. The average food product travels over 1500 miles to get to the table, sending money just as far away. Local foods are also more nutritious, fresher, and just more delicious than produce that has been shipped across the country, or even the world. If you’re concerned about how your eating habits are impacting the environment, eating locally grown food is a great way to be more earth friendly. Local growers tend to have more sustainable, small operations with habitat for wildlife and pollinators, and better practices to conserve soil. If you really want to reduce your impact on the environment, don’t waste food. About 40% of food in the United States is thrown away, costing emissions, land use, and labor.
Whether working in homes on home energy efficiency, or helping support our local food system, our Green Iowa Americorps team is able to help our community through locally driven solutions. As these difficult times are showing us, local solutions are essential to a thriving future- where we hope to have 100% locally owned renewable energy, and a robust local food system.