Ernt is a business on a mission to fix our broken food systems. How can food be 'broken', you ask? Well, we see two main sets of problems...
Health. We are getting sick and obese as a result of our food choices. 38% of Americans are obese, and some estimates suggest that by 2050 nearly one-third of the country will have diabetes. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that excess weight and obesity is US$2 trillion p.a. industry globally (costing about the same as smoking and armed conflict). We all share this burden in the form of higher taxes.
Environment. Farming and Agriculture contribute roughly 24% of global greenhouse gases. By contrast, transportion is only 14%. Greenhouse gases cause global warming, they make water levels rise, lead species to extinction, and expose us all to extreme weather events. Lets spend less time fussing over the benefits of things like electric cars; we have the potential for FAR greater impact by changing the way we eat.
Nutrition. The average American meal travels over 2,000 miles from farm to table and if you’re in the North East (like us) then a lot of your ‘fresh’ produce comes from places even further afield like California and Mexico. Despite it being mid-summer here in New York and having an abundance of fresh fruit available locally, even outlets like Whole Foods are importing apples from New Zealand (?!). When significant distance (and time) is involved in transporting your food, it has to be picked well before it is ripe. Picking food early means it doesn't get a chance to reach peak nutritional value. Doesn’t ‘vine ripened’ sound more appealing than ‘ripened in the back of a truck whilst en-route from the other side of the country’?
Chemicals. Most of the farming we do here in the US relies on whats known as monocultures - which means that a single crop covers a large area, and there is no crop rotation from season-to-season. Monoculture plants are often incapable of defending themselves against pests and disease. As a result, these crops require protection from chemicals and pesticides, some of which subsequently ends up on your plate.
Wastage. Even when you do the right thing and shop at the farmer’s market, our unpredictable schedules often mean that a lot of the fresh produce we purchase gets thrown away. In fact, nearly 50% of all food produced in the US goes to waste. About 43% of that total wastage occurs at the consumer level - with people like you and me. Money. Down. The. Drain.
Crazy huh? Yeah, we think so too! These are the things that keep us awake at night, and if they sound like the sorts of problems you’d like a solution to then I think you're gonna like what we're puttin down. Please visit our main page to learn more about what we're up to!