The food we eat is utterly dependent on oil. It seems absurd and hard to wrap your mind around it if you think your food comes from the grocery store shelf. Every bite of food required more “fossil calories” than what you actually take in! In fact, for every calorie we eat it costs about 10 calories of fossil fuel – that’s simply baffling.
If you could just imagine a sandwich and it was dripping with diesel – just a bite or two remained – the other was just dripping with oil. Really – every plate of food you eat travels an average of 1500 miles! And on top of that, we throw away a TON of food – and then we have to use more fuel to ship that out to the dump and manage that.
Probably one of the craziest things in our country is the huge amounts of fuel spent on food we can’t even eat! For example – a cattle farmers biggest expense in fuel is probably hay for their animals – especially during the winter. And in the states a large part of our fields are made up of food we can’t even eat.
America’s biggest crop, grain corn, is completely unpalatable. It is raw material for an industry that manufactures food substitutes. Likewise, you can’t eat unprocessed wheat. You certainly can’t eat hay. You can eat unprocessed soybeans, but mostly we don’t. These four crops cover 82 percent of American cropland. Agriculture in this country is not about food; it’s about commodities that require the outlay of still more energy to become food.
Then, there is the big emphasis on bio-fuel – and how much of our food is going into that? Even so, that isn’t what drives up the price of food like one might think – it is the cost of fossil fuel.
We use fossil fuel for the equipment, the fertilizer, the pesticides, harvesting, transporting to processing, processing, marketing – and so on… and so on. Check out the break down of the food dollar for an idea of how your food dollar is actually spent.