June 16 - UC Merced Study Shows 80 Percent of Americans Could Live Off of Local Food

The Sierra Nevada Research Institute at University of California, Merced has released a report showing that about 4 in 5 Americans can find all the food they need solely through locally sourced foods.

Upwards of 80 percent of Americans could restrict their eating habits to food grown within 50 miles of where they live, the Santa Clartia Valley Signal reports.

While farmer's markets and natural food cooperatives have historically offered many locally-sourced food options, many grocery store chains have begun offering large selections as the farm-to-fork movement has grown.

“There are profound social and environmental benefits to eating locally," said the study's author, University of California, Merced professor Elliott Campbell.

The Signal goes on to report that according to The United Nations, anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of produce goes to waste, "because it doesn't meet retailer's cosmetic specifications." Buying locally, according to Michigan State University's Beth Clawson, might in fact help to reduce some of that waste.

Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver is also ready taking action on the issue of food cosmetics. This month the Guardian reported that Oliver, who has led the campaign for improved school meals, is turning his attention to a campaign encouraging shoppers to buy “crooked” carrots, knobbly pears and wonky potatoes, in an effort to reduce food waste.

Californians Against Waste is taking on all food waste, pretty or not. Last year CAW successfully created a law that, starting April 1, 2016, requires restaurants and grocery stores to keep their food waste out of landfills by having it composted or recycled into other products.

Organic waste takes up almost a third of all space in landfills, and creates a substantial amount methane, which is a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.