Most of the lettuce eaten in the United States comes from California and Arizona, regions expected to see more drought as the climate warms. From there, it’s trucked all around the country – generating carbon pollution with every mile.
But some say there’s a better way.
“If we all want to enjoy fresh produce, then we need to grow it in many different spots regionally rather than in just one part of the country,” says Matthew Meisel, chief financial officer of Little Leaf Farms.
“We decided, let’s grow lettuce year-round in New England,” he says.
The company grows more than two million pounds a year in a five-acre greenhouse in Massachusetts.
Meisel says the greenhouse is not only closer to East Coast consumers. Its location also allows the company to take advantage of the region’s ample rainfall.
“We don’t have a water shortage in New England,” he says. “We have abundant natural water. We capture rainwater from our roof and we store it, and that’s all the water that we use on our crop.”
And though farming through a cold winter requires heating and lighting a greenhouse, shifting to renewables can reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
So Meisel says the time is right to rethink how – and where – vegetables are grown.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.