Can Tomatoes Save the World?
I’m beginning to work on the term paper for my summer school class “Global Climate Change: The Science, Social Impact, and Diplomacy of a World Environmental Crisis” and thought I’d share my working concept to the good people of the internet for a little vetting/research suggestions. The working concept is to measure either the Greenhouse Gas or water (Possibly both) impacts of tomato gardening in comparison to that of industrial farming. The goal would be to measure the opportunity for reducing impact via production and transport. To measure the opportunity, I would have to find the difference in inputs between an industrial farm and that of an organic home farm. I would also need to determine the difference in GHGs produced by the two methods.
The initial thought might be that the home gardening scenario would mitigate all transport, but that would necessitate having all inputs either being available on site, or within reasonable distance for walking, bicycling, or some other non-motorized transport.
So, please take your best shot at the concept. Do you think it has merit, or am I off the reservation again?
Potential Research Items:
I’ve ordered the new book “Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit” by Barry Estabrook and am starting to work through the following resources:
- The Production Lifecycle of Field Grown Tomatoes – http://vue.tufts.edu/gallery/except/Tomato_+Logo.pdf
- The Locavore’s Dilemma: Local Food Continued – http://www.myfreshlocal.com/articles/article_detail/the-locavores-dilemma-local-food-continued
- Can foodpairing save the world? – http://carbonfoodprint-foodpairing.blogspot.com/p/carbon-footprint-of-food.html
- Excerpt from Seven Wonders for a Cooler Planet – The Real Tomato – http://www.sightline.org/research/books/seven-wonders-for-a-cool-planet/excerpt-tomatoCarbon Footprint of Tomatoes – http://www.neutralworld.org/Environment-Articles/Carbon-Footprint-of-Tomatoes.htmlRenewable Tomatoes: The Carbon Footprint – https://sites.google.com/site/renewabletomatoes/the-project/the-carbon-footprint
- Lifecycle Carbon Footprint: Food Connect Organic Tomatoes – http://brisbane.foodconnect.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/ARUP-Tomato-report.pdf
- The Water Footprint of Food – http://doc.utwente.nl/77216/1/Hoekstra08waterfootprintFood.pdfA revised approach to water footprinting to make transparent the impacts of consumption and production on global freshwater scarcity – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378009000703
- PRODUCT WATER FOOTPRINTING:HOW TRANSFERABLE ARE THE CONCEPTS FROM CARBON FOOTPRINTING? – http://conference.alcas.asn.au/2009/Ridoutt%20et%20al.pdf
- REDUCING FOOD-RELATED GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS THROUGH LOCAL PRODUCTION OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES – http://www.communitypowerdown.org.uk/userfiles/file/documents/Deliverables%5CLocal_Food_Production/Peter%20Elbourne%20-%20Local%20Food%20Production%20GHG%20Savings.pdf
- Energy and environmental burdens of organic and non-organic agriculture and horticulture – http://orgprints.org/10160/1/Energy_and_environmental_burdens_of_organic_and_non-organic_agriculture_and_horticulture.pdf
- Soil organic carbon sequestration and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the southeastern USA – http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/7688/1/IND43728629.pdf