The Eco-Conscious Thanksgiving Menu: Now Serving Greens!

The Eco-Conscious Thanksgiving Menu: Now Serving Greens!

The hidden cost of overeating on Thanksgiving isn’t just an expanding waistline; it’s a fatter carbon footprint, too.

Studies show that most groceries travel about 1,500 miles from the farm to store shelves. The same distance covered by your average car (one that gets about 30 miles per gallon) pumps out about 1,200 pounds of CO2, according to this math. Most commodities arrive in bulk on the back of a flatbed, so the impact is likely even greater.

To help you green up your Thanksgiving table, Government Information and Data Services Librarian Linda Zellmer has visually plotted the USDA’s 2007 Census of Agriculture information to show where today’s pilgrim staples actually come from. Some results are surprising–and might help you figure out where to overindulge a bit more eco-consciously.

For Chicagoans, having that second piece of pumpkin pie should be a no-brainer.


If you live in Dallas, though, it might make sense to skip the pumpkin and opt for pecan pie instead.


In Minneapolis, the greenest, and perhaps wisest choice of all looks to be simply buying a bigger turkey to fill up on. (It’s going to be a cold winter anyway, right?)


Find more ways to customize your shopping list at this site. And remember, unless you live in Portland or Seattle, there’s now ample evidence to stop serving that jiggly cranberry sauce all together.


[Photo by Zeetz Jones]BP