Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey-day and Our Environment

As we prepare to feast with family and friends and reflect on all that we are thankful for, let us be grateful for the food we eat. Let us eat our meals with awareness of what it takes for us to be able to enjoy such delicious bounty.

The resources required to produce enough turkey supply to meet demand is surprising. Nearly 105 billion gallons of water is needed, which is enough to supply New York City’s water needs for over 100 days.

Let’s consider the cost of producing turkey per pound: The resources required to produce each pound of turkey is equivalent to a car driven 11 miles and a 130 minute shower. Producing one pound of turkey meat creates 5kg of CO2 emissions and uses 520 gallons of water according to the Environmental Working Group.

The National Resources Defense Council has determined that Americans will buy 581 million pounds of turkey meat for Thanksgiving this year, but will end up throwing out more than a third of it. Turkey waste may reach $282 million which contributes to the $165 billion of uneaten food that Americans waste per year.

“It’s really shocking to think that we are wasting so much food when we could be feeding our own population," says Dana Gunders, Food and Agriculture Project Scientist at the NRDC. "We estimate that if we were to reduce food waste by 15 percent, that would be equivalent to the amount of food needed to feed 25 million Americans, those who are going hungry.”

Greely Colorado’s Water Conservation Program estimates that it takes over 40,000 gallons of water to produce the food and prepare Thanksgiving dinner for eight. They have offered a few tips to help conserve water when cooking tomorrow’s feast.

Turkey Facts: wild turkeys can run up to 25 miles per hour and their gobbles can be heard up to a mile away.

For more information and ideas to help reduce waste this Thanksgiving visit The Daily Meal.

Angelica Oman
Graduate Progam Assistant