I obviously wasn’t able to get the laptop to work like I wanted in San Francisco (it’s just old enough to not have a wireless card), so I missed a number of good things over the past few days. One item that struck me was Joel Makower’s most recent “Toiling Point” column at Grist where he takes a detailed look at the environmental impact of shipping, both by land and sea, and efforts by non-profits and corporations to reduce that impact. Our discussions recently of “big organics” has frequently touched on the issue of transporting produce over long distances, so Joel’s essay provides a thorough set of facts for considering how this plays into more sustainable food distribution (among other things). The good news here is that a number of big players are making concrete moves towards greening their shipping practices.
I also want to thank Joel for taking the time for a visit on Thursday. We spent an hour talking about a whole range of topics — as you might imagine, it was pretty enlightening. And we talked at the most appropriate place possible: the Ferry Building, which is a hub for local and organic produce in San Francisco. I spent a good part of Saturday morning at the massive farmer’s market surrounding the building — if you have a chance to visit San Francisco, don’t miss it!