Stamford resident Nick Tiller believes the link between food and fuel is a growing problem in the U.S. That’s why he started Sustainable America last March, a Stamford-based national organization.
“The goal is really to see what we can do to raise awareness around some of these issues and to try to change consumer behaviors,” says Jeremy Kranowitz, Executive Director at Sustainable America. “The other piece is that we are making investments in early stage companies that are finding new solutions in sustainable food and sustainable fuels.”
Kranowitz says 45% of U.S. corn is used to make ethanol and 10% of the country’s energy budget is spent on food. He says this connection can lead to negative consequences in the near future.
“What is less well known is actually how tied in the price of oil and the price of corn for example rise and fall together and how those two systems are really tightly interwoven,” says Kranowitz. “It’s important for us to find some alternatives so that we can be more resilient in case of conflict in the Middle East, in case of a drought, in case of other types of severe weather or other external threats.”
Kranowitz says Stamford’s Alive at Five summer concert series was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and start taking action. With the support of the City and Stamford Downtown, Sustainable America interns encouraged patrons to compost their food waste into designated yellow bins.
“We are making sure that all the vendors are using compostable materials; we’re capturing all of that food waste and taking it up to a composting facility in New Milford,” Kranowitz says. “And then once it’s all turned into compost, we are going to return it back to the City for use in urban parks like in Mill River Park.”
Kranowitz says it’s the small things people can do that make a big difference; like composting at home, using oil substitutes, supporting local farms, and changing driving behavior.
“Calculations are that most people idle their car about 15 or 16 minutes a day,” says Kranowitz. “If we cut that in half, we could save about four million gallons of fuel a day in this country. That’s enough to fill five Olympic-sized swimming pools; it’s 200,000 barrels of foreign oil that we could avoid.”
To find out more about Sustainable America, visit www.SustainableAmerica.org