Why the 3,000-mile salad may be here to stay

Lately, I seem to be reading a lot about the inevitable demise of the “3,000-mile salad”. The logic goes like this. Because of rising fuel prices, it will no longer be economical to truck California produce to the East Coast, so the East Coast will have to either grow its own produce or do without. Superficially, the argument is valid. But is it really?

A lot of energy expended in agricultire is actually expended while producing fertilizers. A head of lettuce grown closer to the East Coast just may require more fertilizer. Plus, the East Cost will have to build processing facilities, which California already has in place.

Obviously, this counteragrument is void without some numbers to back it up. Now where would I go to get the numbers?

1 thought on “Why the 3,000-mile salad may be here to stay

  1. Isaac

    I think another variety of 3000-mile salad may go. While *trucking* salad across the USA may be expensive, in comparison to flying it from, say, California to London, it looks cheap. For this reason, I think it might be a little cheaper for Europeans to grow salad more locally, after all, Europe isn’t quite as big as America ;-).

    Perhaps another development might bring an end to all 3000-mile salads: hydroponics. It is now possible to grow plants (especially things like lettuce) in controlled environments, everything can be controlled – temperature, light levels, amounts of water etc.. You can even seal the area, meaning no need for any pesticides. The other big advantage of hydroponics is that you grow vertically, on sheets which can be as close as 8 inches apart – not as picturesque as rolling fields of wheat, but much more efficient. However, building hydroponic facilities is an expensive investment, but is not one that will take very long to get repaid.


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