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when you recycle paper mother nature kills a kitten  RSS feed

 
Tom Harner
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A new way to look at paper recycling (OR an argument for composting your scrap paper):

when-you-recycle-paper-mother-nature-kills-a-kitten


{I am not sure where to put this. Moderators, please feel free to move if appropriate.}
 
Landon Sunrich
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I've ranted this rant before. And it gets moved like 4 or 5 extra times by petro transport! GRRRR

Good article though succinct and informative.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Now if we recycled it locally on a small scale by re pulping and and making our own craft papers...

but yeah I'm with you. Not only does it kill kittens but damn near everything else too
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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I guess I am confused?

So we are saying that recycling paper into paper is bad because of the given process dependance on oil? I am sorry then... change the process because monolithic forest in Africa (and elsewhere) that go on for miles and miles and miles, and depend on oil byproduct fertilizers and pesticides are a lot worse in my book than any form of recycling...sorry to be the voice of descension.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The best use for recycled paper is in the manufacture of cellulose insulation. It will save it's weight in oil several times over time. No need to sort for grade, no water pollution. Papercrete is also an excellent product in dry climates that need good wall insulation.
 
leila hamaya
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i've also ranted this rant before.
it is true, unfortunately, that recycling of not only paper, causes a tremendous amount of waste, and takes a huge amount of fuel for shipping. so much so that recycling actually causes more destruction and fuel consumption than making it from scratch.

when this was made clear to me, we were trying to talk some local people into starting some local recycling plants. IF there were local recycling plants everywhere, instead of the recycling having to be shipped far, it would help, but still not solve the problems.

and because people think of recycling as good, and then feel like this is helping to solve the problems...well its like it puts a bandaid on huge problem. it doesnt actually solve the issue, but seems to be a good thing, so futher effective solutions arent being sought. and people can feel good about recycling, thinking they are doing something about our problems, but they arent.

directly recycling something, like re using and re purposing your waste on site, even just using paper waste as kindling for your wood stove, are actually better solutions.

the real issue with paper is that IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN made of trees to begin with. wood is just a bad choice for paper making.
stopping paper making from other fibers and from easily grown and harvested plants was, IMHO, a big mistake. so we should again start making our paper from the traditional fibers, its also better quality paper which doesnt require chemicals to produce, easily grown and harvested annually, and leave the trees alone.

or at least...only use use trees selectively, for specific purposes, and locally....i do think there can be such a thing as sustainable logging for building and other uses, but it is soooooo far away from what is considered sustainable logging...and it is much slower and more careful logging, selectively logging....done to promote the health of the forest, something which doesnt give big profits exactly, but gives us healthy forest...
 
Robert Ray
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Where does the kitten come in?
 
R Scott
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WAY TOO MUCH of today's recycling is done for the sake of advertising "X% post consumer waste" and the TAX CREDITS tied to it--not what makes sense financially or for the environment.

 
Burra Maluca
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We have 'paper-plantations' all around us.

Wonderful places. Full of trees. Not much else apart from trees. Nice highly-flammable trees.

And no nasty wildlife to clutter the place up.

Or kittens...



 
Landon Sunrich
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leila hamaya wrote:i've also ranted this rant before.

the real issue with paper is that IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN made of trees to begin with. wood is just a bad choice for paper making.
stopping paper making from other fibers and from easily grown and harvested plants was, IMHO, a big mistake. so we should again start making our paper from the traditional fibers, its also better quality paper which doesnt require chemicals to produce, easily grown and harvested annually, and leave the trees alone.
/quote]

like WEED!!!


(sorry for the enthusiasm folks - I've been saving that one up for a while and been putting in my due diligence plugging the stinging nettle which is also awesome but not quite as good in this case)

I could go around pointing fingers at DOW and slagging William Randolf Hearst for the monopolist he was, or decrying the white man who landed on these shores and eventually spawned me via my Tuscarora (hemp gather) ancestors.

I could even point out that the backbone of our countries economy as run by the most influential people in our nations history (*cough* Jefferson *cough*) for centuries was based on timber and hemp. The truth is out there and pretty clear cut.

Speaking of... We have paper birch plantations around here too - and I agree with Burra - densely planted monoculture messes.

I agree with pretty much everything I've seen thus far. The key is to use less, re-use more, and question why we need the supply in the first place.
 
Robert Ray
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You've got to look at recycling with a permaculture mindset. Composting paper onsite, how far does it travel if not composted/recycled on site. Permaculture to me isn't just the garden it is the other things beyond gardens that are part of the problem and solution. Seriously no kittens were harmed in the creation of this post.


A different take on both hemp vs wood and recycling paper costs

http://www.hemphasis.net/Paper/paper_files/hempvtree.htm
 
leila hamaya
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yes, cannabis makes a good paper fiber, and the excess waste stalks and other parts of the plants not used for medicine can be used. the paper produced from the waste of cannabis production is equal in quality to hemp paper. we could be making paper from this waste, but currently it is often discarded, burnt or composted.

a long time back when i used to be really into tree free paper making and making tree free books, i made paper from the waste of medicinal cannabis production here in northern cal. the people i was working with were trying hard to promote this use of the waste fiber, and that one could make paper from many many other things besides trees. many people we would talk to were actually surprised you could make paper from anything other than trees, thats how much was assumed and forgotten. wood pulp paper has not been produced very long, and paper from many different plant fibers was made for thousands of years previous to this.

HOWEVER, it does take almost twice the energy and time to make paper from hemp/cannabis rather than other fibers, though the finished product is stronger and more durable, a better quality, than most other plant fiber paper.

there have been literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different plant fibers used for paper making in different regions. i personally like to talk about
both FLAX, a highly useful and easy to grow plant with multiple other uses (seed, oil, fabric) and kenaf. kenaf is considered by many alternative fiber paper makers to be one of the best alternatives. though it is limited in where it likes to grow, but there are many different plants that are acclimated to different regions and climates.

http://www.visionpaper.com/kenaf2.html

http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/blogs/can-1-miracle-plant-solve-the-worlds-3-greatest-problems#
 
Dale Hodgins
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Burra Maluca wrote:We have 'paper-plantations' all around us.

Wonderful places. Full of trees. Not much else apart from trees. Nice highly-flammable trees.

And no nasty wildlife to clutter the place up.

Or kittens...





Are those eucalyptus trees? Not only do they provide little for wildlife, they suck up all of the ground water. People in India have rioted over plantations that provide nothing for them to gather.

Here in Canada, we gather vast quantities of glass bottles which have a negative value. They are crushed up and mixed with gravel. The gravel sells for less than pit run. It's really just a means of disposal for a relatively benign product. The production of a glass bottle requires about 30 times more energy than is used in making paper milk carton type containers. People feel good about buying the glass product because they believe that it is "recycled". I recycle for a living and have been bitching about these issues for 30 years. I'm 49.
 
Landon Sunrich
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leila hamaya wrote:yes, cannabis makes a good paper fiber, and the excess waste stalks and other parts of the plants not used for medicine can be used. the paper produced from the waste of cannabis production is equal in quality to hemp paper. we could be making paper from this waste, but currently it is often discarded, burnt or composted.

HOWEVER, it does take almost twice the energy and time to make paper from hemp/cannabis rather than other fibers, though the finished product is stronger and more durable, a better quality, than most other plant fiber paper.

there have been literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different plant fibers used for paper making in different regions. i personally like to talk about
both FLAX, a highly useful and easy to grow plant with multiple other uses (seed, oil, fabric) and kenaf. kenaf is considered by many alternative fiber paper makers to be one of the best alternatives. though it is limited in where it likes to grow, but there are many different plants that are acclimated to different regions and climates.



I've done a pretty good amount of reading on papyrus as well. Papyrus is bitchin'.

Little known fact, with enough fasting, sweating, and self flagellation you can totally get high on stinging nettle
 
Burra Maluca
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Dale Hodgins wrote:
Are those eucalyptus trees? Not only do they provide little for wildlife, they suck up all of the ground water. People in India have rioted over plantations that provide nothing for them to gather.


Yes. Vile things. People in the villages love them as the land distribution is different here. Almost everyone who hasn't already left for the city owns a house, a garden, a patch of olive trees just outside the village, and bigger and bigger patches of land the further away from the village they get. So as the old folk get weaker and realise their kids have all grown up and left for the big city, they lease out the big patches of land to the paper company who smother it in eucaplyptus and give the owner a nice fat cheque every ten years. So they turn a blind eye to the destruction of the land and the incredible fire risk. The ones in the photo had been 'singed' rather by a recent fire.

Here's what the view of that eucalyptus fire looked like from my place -



Landon Sunrich wrote:
Little known fact, with enough fasting, sweating, and self flagellation you can totally get high on stinging nettle


Even little known fact. With enough sweating, self-flagellation and dedication you can totally get high on doing pretty well any job well enough. Well I can, anyway, and my son has also been known to. An amazing, natural high of a job well done. You have to put your heart and soul into it though, and produce something to be proud of, but the buzz comes back when you see what you've done and remember the work. So you get about a triple whammy. Cool stuff!
 
leila hamaya
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Landon Sunrich wrote:


I've done a pretty good amount of reading on papyrus as well. Papyrus is bitchin'.

Little known fact, with enough fasting, sweating, and self flagellation you can totally get high on stinging nettle


yeah, papyrus, lokta (this makes one of the strongest and most durable papers), bamboo, nettles, even cotton, all excellent paper plants...though some of those are considered less than ideal for wide scale use in one way or another. they all are superior to wood pulp, both in the product and the real cost of producing them.

one of the very best ideas is to use scrap and waste agricultural materials of all kinds, the leftover parts of the plants after food production -rice straw, corn and banana are being used as paper fibers but just about every plant that is grown for food or medicine can be used for paper fiber. especially if you mix them together with a better paper fiber, then you can use almost any plant, stem, leaf, grass...if you mix it in at a low ratio to a large amount of a good pulp fiber.

theres also the old way of making paper from scrap fabric, which is still viable and makes a fine paper as the fibers have already been processed.

and i do believe you!
nettles has a strong presence, and i like its interesting signature about it being it's own antidote.
but i have some funny ideas about things, i guess, cause i think you can "get high" off all of the medicinal plants, without even ingesting or harvesting them. and without flagellation!
by standing beside them and basically communing with the plant, you can connect to their essence...for someone it might not work as well, i suppose it takes a certain sensitivity, but i think as humans we still do have that sensitivity even if most people tune it out.
try it with rose! she is easy to connect to, just communing with her, standing beside this plant, its hard to feel unhappy while staring at a rose =)

ok end off topicness, but interesting anyway....
 
Dale Hodgins
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If I were to ever jump on the carbon sequestration bandwagon, landfilling of glossy paper products would be by far the simplest and easiest to accomplish. Some landfills have natural gas wells that derive some of that gas from paper. Papercrete and paper insulation also could be seen as sequestration.

Paper is a suitable feedstock for making wood gas and when rolled tightly could power a rocket stove or rocket mass heater. It produces lots of ash but this method of burning is far superior to the back yard burn barrel.

Clean paper, with non toxic ink, could be turned into biochar. There would be no need to grind it.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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But what does all this have to do with KITTENS?
 
John Polk
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:But what does all this have to do with KITTENS?

That comes from the link in the very first post.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Thanks John.

I just went and read what I thought was every word, couldn't find kittens, then skimmed it again.  It's got no mention of kittens that I could find.  Interesting ideas presented though.

I care about the kitten only because for me to have confidence is someone's ideas, I look for integrity within the whole that's presented.  I look for cohesiveness in all parts.  When the title says it kills kittens, then at least I think some mention of how in his mind recycling paper directly harms specifically kittens is needed, or some mention that he is just using kittens as a metaphor.

Otherwise it's just sensationalism, IMO.

If the presentation is not cohesive, then I conclude the person's information and or conclusions may also not be thorough, and without being able to  scrutinize the whole process, how do I know he is is not making other leaps where I would not agree to follow.

So, now, I wonder about how things stack up overall. 

If we have these paper forests that are monoculture, then how to rate all those variables?  Seems like paper plantations are not that great either.  Milligrams of carbon sequestered alone, is not a reliable measure of progress of climate change .  The carbon thing is multifactorial, and IMO, the insistence that the "have" nations can continue our way of life, and that all other people can join us is what needs real consideration.   If we get into great discussions about ending paper recycling, then it is possible that will also become a red herring, the way paper recycling "is" if we are to believe the OP.

If someone wants to make an impassioned presentation about the fallacies of paper recycling, or participate in such discussion, then I would like to see a comprehensive consideration of many alternatives for new paper.  And discussion of reduction in the amount of junk paper, and consideration of who generates all that waste paper (advertisers IMO), and how to turn down the flow of that all that junk paper, much of it never even opened or looked at, just presented in the mail box for the box holder to solve the puzzle of what to do with it

It is an important issue.  I would just like to see the situation truly considered, rather than abbreviated and or sensationalized.


 
Gilbert Fritz
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Recycling is so yesterday. UP cycle! Up cycle! UP CYCLE Forever!

Actually, don't use it in the first place . . .

Seriously, though, from what I've read, most recycling of anything is a scam. Hauling all that junk to a central location, sorting it, processing it, etc. is very un-permacultural. Metals might be the only materials that make sense. Scrap iron can be tossed right back into a blast furnace, offsetting some of the iron ore, and come right back as Iron again. Copper and Aluminum tend to cost enough to make it worth while, and cost can be a daily good indicator of energy usage.

But recycling paper, plastic, and glass makes no sense on any level. So we should reduce our use, then figure out how to up cycle or reuse things. How about a local dairy that reused bottles again? Or a local ketchup factory? Or apple juice plant?

Besides, I can't get enough quart plastic containers for seed starting and dozens of other uses. Don't get me started on 5 gallon plastic buckets! They can literally be life to people in the third world, and we put stacks of food grade ones in the trash . . .
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I agree.  We do have a recycling center in the town nearest where I live.  They do bale up and "sell" all kind of things, paper plastic cardboard steel glass aluminum, but they pull all kinds of interesting and useful things out of the stream for anyone to take home and use.  I've been told that all the glass that gets recycled in this state is bought by a large beer company.

I prefer to get my beer from local breweries in refillable bottles. 

I've brought home hundreds of canning jars, stacks and stacks of egg cartons, antique glasses (for serving beverages), they have those 5 gallon buckets and larger, with twist off lids, great for storing chicken feed, plastic containers for plants. 

They have plenty more things I  just have never thought I could find a use for.

I think of it as a depot for exchange.
 
Gilbert Fritz
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I think of it as a depot for exchange.


We really need LOTS of depots for exchange. Craigslist helps, but it is too scattered and too hard to keep track of. What we need are scavenging groups who can even out all the flows and needs in a given area, where people can just take all their "junk" and "recycling" to be up cycled and put back to use.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:
I think of it as a depot for exchange.


We really need LOTS of depots for exchange. Craigslist helps, but it is too scattered and too hard to keep track of. What we need are scavenging groups who can even out all the flows and needs in a given area, where people can just take all their "junk" and "recycling" to be up cycled and put back to use.


Yup, something more extensive than goodwill and / or habitat for humanity.

The near by town has a "spring clean up" every year.  People put anything they want to out in the street and the city will come haul it away... what they haul away they take to the dump, there could be some improvement there.   But people put things out before the haul away starts.  Other people (like me) cruise around in vans and pick ups get furniture lumber straw bales, trees, bags of leaves, sporting goods, firewood, appliances, sinks and toilets and cabinets, pipe, tools,  anything and everything.   The people who live in the neighborhoods that have the service get in to cleaning up their places.  They don't have to haul their stuff anywhere, just put it on the sidewalk.  It is so convenient for them, they get pretty generous with what they put out there, knowing there is a big chance if they put it out someone will use it.

It could be more efficient, but a lot of exchange and up cycling  happens.
 
William Bronson
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I am interested in the paper that goes to to recycled but is rejected.
Baled paper houses could be the next straw bale house.
Spray them down with borax and slather on the stucco.
The rejected glass could be fill in concrete,or substitute for gravel.
Rejected plastic could be sinstered into 4 x 8 sheet goods,hardly any worser for the environment than OSB.

To me ,living in this modern world we might as well treat the detritus around us as the leavings of an invasive species.
Sure, the invasive honeysuckle that dominates the under storey around here isn't good for much,but since the leaves and branches are in my way, I strive to gain a yield from my work.
 
Sharon Hilchie
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Just wanted to chime in and say the kitten thing is just an old meme.  "Every time you x, y kills a kitten" is the "proper" form.  where x and y are replaced with what you're talking about.

Just a figure of speech to say something is bad. 

Language is always evolving, this particular phrase is >10 years old now, most popular amongst techie Americans in their thirties, I'd say.
 
r ranson
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I think the kitten is there to get clicks from the people who don't yet know about the trouble with recycling. 

We already care, so the kitten is sensationalism.  But maybe the person next door loves kittens, recycles, and thinks nothing more about it.  Maybe he needs the kitten to click, then discovering how damaging recycling can be, decides to seriously reduce his paper use?  In that situation, the kitten is useful because he wouldn't have clicked without it.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Sharon Hilchie wrote:Just wanted to chime in and say the kitten thing is just an old meme.  "Every time you x, y kills a kitten" is the "proper" form.  where x and y are replaced with what you're talking about.

Just a figure of speech to say something is bad. 

Language is always evolving, this particular phrase is >10 years old now, most popular amongst techie Americans in their thirties, I'd say.


Thanks Sharon, I didn't  know it was a meme, it's helpful to know the origins.  I am way out of touch with US Techie culture, don't know many 30s people either.

It doesn't change my confidence level in the report.
 
Jason Learned
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:Recycling is so yesterday. UP cycle! Up cycle! UP CYCLE Forever!

Actually, don't use it in the first place . . .

Seriously, though, from what I've read, most recycling of anything is a scam. Hauling all that junk to a central location, sorting it, processing it, etc. is very un-permacultural. Metals might be the only materials that make sense. Scrap iron can be tossed right back into a blast furnace, offsetting some of the iron ore, and come right back as Iron again. Copper and Aluminum tend to cost enough to make it worth while, and cost can be a daily good indicator of energy usage.

But recycling paper, plastic, and glass makes no sense on any level. So we should reduce our use, then figure out how to up cycle or reuse things. How about a local dairy that reused bottles again? Or a local ketchup factory? Or apple juice plant?

Besides, I can't get enough quart plastic containers for seed starting and dozens of other uses. Don't get me started on 5 gallon plastic buckets! They can literally be life to people in the third world, and we put stacks of food grade ones in the trash . . .


I've been working on some projects in Amsterdam and there is a guy there making a 3D printer that he can fill with shredded plastic and then print objects. He is using local waste plastic. He has not perfected it yet but he is having some success and should have a working prototype in a few weeks. He said there are many people doing this all over right now. I know it is not paper, I just wanted to mention a local solution to a huge problem.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Use as little paper as possible. Don't read a newspaper, you can find the newest news on the internet. Don't buy a book, you (and many other readers) can get books from the library. Do not print, you can read from your screen (and others can read what you share from their screen). These were just a few examples ...
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think books may be one of the most permanent forms of paper.  I have some which are over 100 years old. Very stable.  Walls lined with bookcases full of books may be effective insulation.

 
r ranson
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I think books may be one of the most permanent forms of paper.  I have some which are over 100 years old. Very stable.  Walls lined with bookcases full of books may be effective insulation.



I agree. 
I suspect that a physical book, a good quality one, is far less damaging to the environment than an e-text. 
 
Gilbert Fritz
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I agree. 
I suspect that a physical book, a good quality one, is far less damaging to the environment than an e-text.


Yes, because high quality book will last for several hundred years if well taken care of and can be read by hundreds of people with no further energy use.

But low quality books are just a waste of paper; they fall apart in a few years and don't have the proper structure to be rebound.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:

But low quality books are just a waste of paper; they fall apart in a few years and don't have the proper structure to be rebound.


Yes, unfortunately there's a whole generation of poorly-made books from the late-middle part of the previous century.  Even "sorry for the poor quality of this war-time book" antiques are holding up better than those.

 
Gilbert Fritz
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I've dabbled in bookbinding a little bit; it is a fascinating craft, and rapidly becoming a forgotten one outside of specialty shops which rebind antiques. There are many components and sub crafts involved, from paper making to leather tooling.

Even with gentle usage, modern books can only last till the strip of glue that is their binding dries out and cracks. There is no way to reinsert loose pages, and once a page comes loose the next is quick to follow.

Paper quality is another area; many modern books use very cheap stuff, which will degrade faster.

It's sad, really; we are so wealthy and yet all the artifacts around us are cheap, shoddy, and ugly.

Interestingly, this is a huge topic for sustainability; a well made item will last so much longer that even if it takes more energy up front then a shoddy one, it is well worth it.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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The university is starting a farmer's market here, and was bragging in their promotional literature how much energy it would save. NOT! I've calculated how many ounces of fuel it takes to bring a pound of vegetables from California by truck or train. It takes much more fuel per pound for me to take them into town in my pickup truck.

 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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...how many ounces of fuel it takes to bring a pound of vegetables from California by truck or train. It takes much more fuel per pound for me to take them into town in my pickup truck. 

This is so true.  What they should be promoting is that "your food dollars are staying right here in the community, helping the community".
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I consider disintermediation to be best reason to eat local food: Getting rid of the handlers, shippers, insurers, brokers, taxers, factories, and regulators that would otherwise be tainting or interfering with my food.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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It is fresher too!  The money stays in the community, you can know the farmer, visit the farm, be your own certifier rather than paying out for third party certification. 

I think this makes people take responsibility for themselves and their decisions. 

In the end if one of those food disasters happen, then you know exactly who and where the listeria entered the food stream, it is  not hidden in the masses of food processed through the same facility, ends up contaminating less food, reaching fewer people. I tell the people who end up with my dairy products (herdshare cheese yogurt milk and kefir):  "your guarantee is that I am so small that the food I am going to eat is not separated from the food you are going to eat.  I want to be sure you know my kitchen is not inspected, there are dogs in my kitchen, and because I have cats I assume they get on the counter when I am not there, and I wipe the counter before I begin any food prep. 

I use no disinfectants, sanitizers, antibacterials or weird stuff (other than 7th generation dishwasher detergent) in my kitchen.  Pleas come and see exactly what the conditions are so you can be fully informed!

I've heard it said the local farmers market is not fuel efficient, but I wonder how they figure that, what they count and what they don't.  In the end I think fuel efficiency will improve once we get the local food systems in place.  Once we get local food, the fuel efficiency and distribution costs will improve because farmers AND shoppers will look for ways to economize on fuel.

There is a local food hub here and one there, and that's what is developing now in this neighborhood.  One guy 60 miles away has got an online ordering system for restaurants and group drop off points, (employees of a big place all order for a particular afternoon delivery to their work place just about quitting time.  EVeryone orders separately, he brings all the orders.  I think this might turn out to be a great model.  He also delivers to fancy mountain town restaurants, and the people who live their and put in their orders for the drop point.  While driving here and there for his deliveries, he picks up from small farmers along the way to take back to his central location.  He also has food storage capabilities for what is grown right here, and will keep over the winter in cold storage.

I'm going to keep my eye on it!
 
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