I wrote here about bananas’ large carbon footprint. For better (it is not eternal summer here) and for worse (long distance from all the good food that grows there), I do not live in a tropical climate. Despite eliminating bananas, there are other foods that I like to eat that just do not grow here. In thinking about the foods I consume regularly or somewhat regularly, three main items come to mind: avocados, chocolate, and olive oil.
There was a time when I couldn’t imagine living without chocolate. Are you kidding me? I couldn’t even imagine getting through an entire day without eating chocolate. Not lots of chocolate at one time, I was generally pretty moderate, but there was SOME chocolate every day. While I will not be growing cacao seeds in my yard anytime soon, and don’t plan to completely abstain, there are some ways to make chocolate friendlier. 1) Buy fair trade organic chocolate made from sustainably grown cacao. This means that instead of destroying rain forest to grow the chocolate, it was grown in the shade of other trees, by farmers who were paid a living wage and encouraged to farm sustainably. 2) Consume less chocolate.
Unless you have lots of money to burn, number one will naturally lead to number two, because fair trade organic chocolate is significantly more expensive than the alternative. On the upside, it is also a higher quality chocolate, so you are more likely to be satisfied with a small amount. The planet and your waistline will thank you.
We have not made this switch completely; it is a work in progress. Most of the chocolate bars we purchase fit the fair trade, organic bill. We also have a source for chocolate chips, but first we need to finish the stockpile of regular (not-so-earth-friendly) chocolate chips that I purchased during a good sale last year.