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The Footprint of Bread…plus mkt 3.11.2017

A friend (thanks, Katie!) recently brought our attention to this story on NPR: What’s the Environmental Footprint of a Loaf of Bread? Now We Know. From the article: “What is new about the study, says Goucher, is that it breaks down the emissions at every step, so we can figure out which steps to focus on to reduce emissions.” While our farm is mostly about vegetables – the bread we bake is a small part of our business – we care a lot about bread, and bread is forever tied to the farms that grow the grain. And, we hope it’s obvious, we care a lot about farming. And eating! So let’s dive for a few minutes into what this study found out.
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Short version of the study and results: The researchers looked at the emissions involved in every step of the process of making a loaf of bread – growing the wheat, transporting the grain, milling the flour, baking and packaging the bread. The biggest finding is that the grand majority – 66% – of the environmental impact of producing a loaf of bread came from the growing of the wheat itself. 40% was found to be attributable to just the chemical (ammonium nitrate) fertilizer used. (The article points out that the water pollution caused by the run off of this synthetic fertilizer is an additional problem.)
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In the future, this kind of analysis could be used to create a market for foods with lower emissions, says Ramankutty. The way to do that is by “asking consumers to vote with their money,” he says. “If for example, customers demand “climate-smart bread,” then bakeries would have to prove that their bread uses less energy than the average loaf. Bakeries can in turn influence the supply chain. “They can go back to the farmer and say, ‘Can you use less fertilizer, or use organic fertilizer?’ ” Ramankutty says. That could become a productive way to make sure that the food we eat has a smaller climate impact, he adds.
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Here’s where we get really proud and excited: We use only Certified Organic grains and other ingredients (such as seeds, raisins, cinnamon…) in our bread. And our bakery (and all farm processing, such as our well pump and cold storage) is run by solar-powered electricity. And we grow vegetables only using organic fertilizer (and all other inputs), and we use only the amounts that our soil tests indicate are necessary. Voila. Low emissions. Low impact.
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Also from the article: “The study is “very interesting, very complete,” says James Galloway, an expert on nitrogen cycles at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, who was not involved in the new study. “This is exactly the kind of thing that should be done with other food commodities.”” Here, here! we say. We love good research. Keep up the good work, folks. And we’ll keep growing sans any chemical inputs and power our facility using solar-powered electricity.

Vote with your dollars, friends. Organic agriculture is still only 1% of our state and our country’s total. We can’t purchase VA grown grains because we can’t find any Organic ones grown and for sale. There’s not a lot of Climate Smart food on the market right now. We have a ways to go, but your support drives the movement to a smaller footprint made by our food. Join our CSA – including a Bread Share option! – and be part of the solution. (And, in the process, eat the best damn tasting food.)

This week’s Climate Smart harvest (and Climate Smart baking) includes: 
Chervil, Microgreens, Garlic Scallions, Spinach, Parsley, Pea Shoots, Pepper Jelly…and our Organic Hearth Baked Climate Smart Bread (Whole RYE, Sunny Greens, Seed, & Raisin loaves for this weekend) PLUS: You can purchase Certified Organic flour that we have freshly stone-ground in our Bakery. Whole Wheat & Whole Rye available, with a delicious recipe included with each purchase.
{Our farmstand is open Thursday & Friday with most of the above items…see here for updated inventory}

2017 Market Share CSA Members: Reserve your selection online to pick up Saturday, March 11th at our farm, at Good Health Herbs, or at the Farmers Market @ St. Stephens.

Anything remaining as of Saturday morning, plus the bread we will bake, we’ll bring to the Farmer’s Market @ St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in the West End of Richmond
{Indoors through March, Saturdays, 9-12.}

Enjoy ~
Janet, Dan, & the whole Broadfork crew
Want to follow along during the week, including Farm Stand updates? Visit us on Facebook or Instagram

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