Friday, June 6, 2008
Many of the vegetables I sell at the farmers market have a fairly low carbon footprint for the following reasons. Any early transplants are produced in a greenhouse completely heated by solar heat. (See article on solar greenhouse below). Some items are direct seeded. I am reusing pots that I originally bought in 1975. The raised beds require very limited tillage. In fact, what tillage is done is done by hand or a trowel. No gas powered equipment is used. The other handtools I use are a shovel or pitchfork to dig compost, a bucket to haul compost, and a tire tool on certain weeds. The majority of my fertility comes from site produced compost. I seldom use insecticides and never use fungicides or herbicides on this area. Post harvest is another place the carbon footprint is fairly low. I carry them out by hand, wash them and load them in the pickup. Since I sell at the market 3 days a week, there is very little energy intensive storage. And most of the packaging is washed and reused. The plastic landscape fabric had a high carbon cost initially but some of it has been down for 18 years which should put me far ahead of anybody using plastic mulch on an annual system. Another high carbon cost is traveling the 18 miles to the local farmers market. Even though my truck gets 28 miles to the gallon, the carbon cost per pound of produce is still fairly high.