Grain Shipped Under Sail Reduces Carbon Footprint


Farmer Roy Lawrence and CSA members - Matt Lowe

Local eating advocates often cite reduced shipping emissions as a good reason to source food from as close to home as possible. The concept of reduced food miles equaling reduced carbon output quickly becomes clouded when economies of scale, production methods, and efficiency of shipping methods is taken into account. A group of farmers, activists and citizens in British Columbia have removed any hint of uncertainty by creating a local low carbon grain chain.

Keep reading to see how they did it.
Examining totes of grain - Matt Lowe

The towns of Creston and Nelson are progressive communities in the heart of British Columbia's interior. Matt Lowe of the West Kootenay EcoSociety founded a grain CSA to help satisfy a demand for locally grown grains. By early 2008 Lowe had signed up 180 members who each had committed $100 to receive 100 pounds of grain come harvest. A local bakery also committed to 2,000 pounds.

My initial motivation to have grain grown locally was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I never imagined that there were farmers out there eager to grow grains with horses instead of tractors and I certainly had never thought that anyone would propose to transport the grains via sailboat!


Loading grain to be shipped - John Steinman

After the heritage varieties of wheat were grown, harvested and packaged, the grain shipment was loaded at Kuskanook Harbour on the eastern shore of Kootenay Lake. The sailors took one and half days to sail the length of the lake and into its western arm to a private dock in Nelson. CSA members were out in force to help unload the sailboats and collect their zero carbon grain, including red fife wheat, khorasan wheat, hard spring wheat, spelt and oats.


CSA Members Unloading Grain Shipment - John Steinman

At a time of immense global challenges; skyrocketing prices of fuel, uncertain supplies of oil, a farm income crisis, climate change, food safety concerns and a decline in the nutritional composition of our food supply, the Nelson-Creston Grain CSA is a promising sign that alternatives are indeed possible.


via Deconstructing Dinner


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Tags: Agriculture | Farming | Food Miles | Local Food