This is part 5 of our serialization of Chapter 4 (Energy) from the latest Resilience guide, "Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to Create Local, Sustainable & Secure Food Systems". In this excerpt we enter the kitchen.
Food Storage and Preparation
We humans have exploited heat in the preparation of our food for millennia, and we got really good at it. But we never had the opportunity to make extensive and controlled use of cold until the past century. Whereas heat drove our culinary adventures for most of human history, refrigeration has, in many ways, surpassed heat in its importance to our contemporary food systems.
16. Alex Wilson, “The Energy Smart Kitchen,” Fine Homebuilding, Fall/Winter 2007.
17. David M. Cutler, Edward L. Glaeser, and J. M. Shapiro. “Why Have Americans Become More Obese?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 17, no. 3 (2003): 103.
18. Jennifer Poti and Barry Popkin, “Trends in Energy Intake among US Children by Eating Location and Food Source, 1977–2006,” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 111, no. 8 (2011): 1156–64. The researchers indicate in their conclusions that these figures are, in fact, quite conservative, and the numbers are likely higher.
19. Pimentel et al., “Reducing Energy Inputs in the U.S. Food System,” 459.
20. Ibid., 460.
21. The Food Research and Action Center website provides extensive data and publications documenting the disturbing hunger levels of residents living in agriculturally rich regions such as some counties in Florida. For more information, visit the center’s “Data and Publications” page at http://frac.org/reports-and-resources/.
22. For information on apples and other U.S. agricultural commodities, see the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center “Commodity Apple Profile” pulled together by Malinda Geisler of Iowa State University, at http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products /fruits/apples/commodity_apple_profile.cfm.
23. “WTO and U.S. Chicken Exports: China Puts Its Case,” the Poultry Site, September 22, 2011, http://www.thepoultrysite.com/poultrynews/23599/wto-and-us-chicken-exports-china-puts-its-case.
24. For a superb overview of the impacts of our food system on energy consumption and climate change, see the Food Climate Research Network’s report Cooking Up a Storm, by Tara Garnett (September 2008), available at http://www.fcrn.org.uk/fcrn/publications/cooking-up-a-storm. Tara Garnett also coauthored, with Tim Jackson, one of the best available histories of refrigeration in our food system in her paper “Frost Bitten: An Exploration of Refrigeration Dependence in the U.K. Food Chain and Its Implications for Climate Policy,” presented to the 11th European Round Table on Sustainable Consumption and Production, Basel, Switzerland, June 2007, and available at http://www.fcrn.org.uk/fcrn/publications/frost-bitten.