Food Smart – Food Facts and Tips | Sustainable San Mateo County

Food Smart – Food Facts and Tips

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Did you know…

40% of San Mateo County land is farm or rangeland?

Growing, processing, and transporting food products are the nation’s largest contributor to the release of greenhouse gases into the environment?

There are ways that we can reduce this trend by encouraging and advocating for change in the food chain:
~ Develop more sustainable agriculture.
~ Purchase from local food providers.
~ Make simple dietary changes, day to day – try some of the tips below!

#1. The food policy that matters most is yours.

#2. Global livestock production is responsible for one-fifth of all greenhouse gases – more than transportation

#3. Vegetables and fruit account for almost 10 percent of Americans’ total caloric consumption.

#4. 7 percent of Americans’ calories come from soda.

#5. 40 calories of fossil fuel are required to produce 1 calorie of beef protein.

#6. A 12-ounce can of diet soda containing 1 calorie requires 2,200 calories to produce.

#7. It takes more than 2,100 calories to produce a half-gallon plastic milk container.

#8. More than 50 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is fed to animals.

#9. About 70 percent of the world’s farmland is dedicated to livestock production.

#10. Avoid food products with ingredients that are unfamiliar, unpronounceable, more than 5 in number, include high-fructose corn syrup.

#11. Every item on average on the American plate has traveled 1,500 miles.

#12. Taxpayers pay tens of billions of dollars every year to subsidize the production of commodity crops, mostly corn, wheat and soybeans.

#13. We think of fast food as cheap in spite of all the fossil fuels and processing that are required to make it.

#14. Almost one-third of Americans’ total caloric intake comes from nutrient-poor foods such as sweets, salty snacks and fruit drinks.

#15. The U.S. government urges us to eat more fruits and vegetables but our agricultural programs offer no assistance to fruit and vegetable growers.

#16. Every calorie of an average diet needs one liter of water to produce.

#17. 1 in 10 people who live in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are food insecure.

#18. “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” Michael Pollan, “In Defense of Food”

#19. 50 percent of the antibiotics administered in the U.S. go to animals.

#20. Green cooking tip: Roast a whole chicken. Less processing and less packaging mean less waste.

#21. Green cooking tip: Use the leftover bones of your roasted whole chicken to make stock (and save a can).

#22. Green cooking tip: Nuts, grains and other dry items bought in bulk mean less packaging and processing.

#23. 60 billion animals are raised each year for food – 10 animals for every human on Earth.

#24. Wash and save sturdy takeout containers to store leftovers or transport your homemade lunch.

#25. Join a CSA: C for Community, S for Supported, A for (local) Agriculture. Find one at

#26. Blue Ocean Institute’s FishPhone: Text 30644 with message FISH and name of fish in question. Return text will tell you if variety is good for you and the world.

#27. Vegetables require less energy and water to grow and produce no greenhouse gases.

#28. It takes more than 2,400 calories to produces a 1-quart polyethylene water bottle.

#29. Composting at home can cut your landfill production by up to two-thirds.

#30. Eat grass-fed beef. A corn-based diet makes cows sick, requiring routine treatment with antibiotics.

#31. Beef, pork, dairy, chicken and fish account for 23 percent of Americans’ total caloric consumption.

#32. Download the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sustainable-seafood sushi guide at

#33. Studies show that an electric dishwasher can typically outperform a human being in water efficiency, especially if it’s EnergyStar rated.

#34. Read: “Edible Estates”, Fritz Haeg. Calls for America’s lawns to be turned into productive vegetable gardens.

#35. Read: “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life”, Barbara Kingsolver. Chronicles the family’s year of eating locally.

#36. Read: “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”, Michael Pollan

#37. There are more than 20 farmers’ markets each week in San Mateo County – find yours here.

#38. Green cooking tip: Save veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, put the scraps in a pot with water to cover; boil for one hour. Strain and enjoy!

#39. Use empty strawberry baskets to cover young seedlings to keep out snails and slugs.

#40. Download The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Preview: non-organic apples are #1 on dirty dozen list.

Do you have more sustainable food tips?
Email them or connect with us on Facebook.

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