Savannah farm-to-table restaurants help reduce personal environmental impact

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — After fires burned 3,500 square miles of the Amazon Rainforest in August, WSAV viewers have been asking on social media — what can I do to reduce my personal carbon footprint? We hit the streets of Savannah to find out.

A carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption by an individual, event, organization, or product. Your carbon footprint is a way to measure the environmental impact that your lifestyle has.

Fires are continuing in the Amazon regardless of the 60-day ban on land clearing fires made by President Jair Bolsonaro last month. 

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research has data showing that the number of fires in Brazil has exceeded 100,000 so far. That is up 45 percent compared to the same period in 2018. 

Remaining smoke in the Amazon has caused an increase in respiratory problems. Studies have shown that air pollution, whether small particles or gases, can lead to a rise in lung and cardiovascular conditions, according to health experts. 

There are plenty of ways to calculate your carbon footprint, including using a number of online calculators. Knowing your carbon footprint can help you figure out what part of your daily routine contributes the most to it.

While some disasters contributing to climate change can feel out of our control, there are still a few small things you can do to help offset the impacts of climate change. 

Farm-to-table restaurants have been a trend in Savannah since 2007 when Local11ten opened its doors. Located on 1110 Bull St., Local11ten serves seasonal American dishes with southern touches. 

Executive Chef of Local11ten, Brandy Williamson, is passionate about farm-to-table and the ways it helps our environment. Williamson encourages her staff to express their ideas and create new dishes for their seasonal menus. 

“When you think about what goes into getting produce to a grocery store, the average number of miles produce travels is fifteen hundred miles to get to you,” Executive Chef Brandy Williamson said, “So you have to take into account you’ve got the boxing you’ve got the shipping, you’ve got the tractor-trailer trucks shipping all this stuff. Then you’ve got to drive to the store. It’s a lot, it’s a lot of packaging, it’s a lot of fuel. But when you have stuff coming directly from the farm, you just have one farmer.”

Another restaurant taking the farm-to-table scene by storm is New York City based eatery, The Fat Radish on the corner of Congress and MLK Jr. Blvd. 

Executive Chef Nick Wilbur hosts seasonal menus with locally sourced dishes.

As an avid supporter of local farms, Wilbur tells us why he believes in the farm-to-table lifestyle and explains if you can reduce the amount of travel produce takes to get to you, it’s in everyone’s best interest. 

“If you’re a local restaurant you’re getting things at peak season,” Wilbur said. “You’re not buying tomatoes in the middle of winter where they’re coming from Mexico. If you eat seasonally it’s generally less expensive. And it’s better tasting.” 

Wilbur says farm-to-table is important to him because it’s not only better for the environment, but the consumer avoids pesticides and other chemicals in their food. To help with food costs, the chefs recommend cooking seasonally. 

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