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Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Eating Sweeter, More Flavorful Strawberries

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OREGON STRAWBERRIES
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And help NRDC find next year's Growing Green Award winners by December 16.

NRDC Growing Green Award winner Jim Cochran grows organic strawberries on the California coast. Those who have tasted them will confirm that Jim's berries are among the sweetest, most flavorful strawberries you'll ever try.

Why? When Jim won an NRDC Growing Green Award this spring, he explained that this is because he uses less nitrogen. More nitrogen fertilizer would increase his yields, but he grows for flavor instead of size. His organic growing practices help, because organic nitrogen sources release the nutrient more slowly to the plant. A California Farmer article about Jim asserted that his rich, organically farmed soil also contributes to efficient nutrient use and more complex flavors.

For most farming operations, nitrogen turns out to the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrous oxide, a gas that is often formed when nitrogen is applied to soil, has about 300 times more global warming potential that CO2 (and synthetic fertilizer, used in conventional agriculture systems, also requires large quantities of energy to produce). For many farms, nitrogen use will be a larger source of green house gasses than all other emissions combined. Farmers who use nitrogen more efficiently will lose less to the environment.

So although we don't have a detailed analysis to prove the point, I am quite prepared to believe that my efforts to choose the sweetest, most flavorful organic strawberries is one way I can help the planet.

I reminisce about how Jim is making a difference in our food system now because NRDC is currently searching for next year's Growing Green Award winners. Please help us find the innovators who are reinventing our food system. You can nominate yourself and your favorite sustainable food leaders at www.nrdc.org/growinggreen. Categories for 2012 are: Food Producer, Business Leader, Young Food Leader and Food Justice Leader. Once again, we are joined by a distinguished panel of sustainable food experts who will select the final winners. Visit online to read about them and the previous winners who inspire us.

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