The greater the distance food (and its components) has traveled, from paddock to plate, the greater the transport pollution, and the greater the impact on the health of people, the land and the global climate - a concept known as 'food miles.'
Locally-produced fresh food is the best environmental choice, and also helps to support local farming communities.
the real costs of the weekly shopping are much bigger than people might at first think.
What are the environmental impacts of packaging and processing and imported food and food products that have been hauled across thousands of kilometers?
the hidden environmental costs of imported food http://www.acfonline.org.au/news
The energy consumed in food freight often outweighs the nutritional energy in the food itself. For instance, it takes around 1,000 kilojoules of energy to ship 170kJ worth of strawberries from Chile to the United States.
A recent German study found that a 240ml cup of yoghurt in a supermarket shelf in Berlin entails over 9,000km of transportation. (Germans eat 3 billion cups a year.)
In the United States, the food for a typical meal has traveled nearly 2,100km, but if that meal contains off-season fruits or vegetables the total distance is many times higher.
Even imported organic food can have a tremendous impact. A single Briton's shopping basket of 26 imported organic products could have traveled 241,000km and released as much CO2 into the atmosphere as an average four bedroom household does through cooking meals over eight months.
As consumers we must make the best, most informed choice for our environment and the future……. Buy Local by choice
"If we are shipping luxury food and wine around the world because we want to be able to do it, we’ve got to be willing to sit down when we’re older with our grandchildren and say ‘Sorry. We wanted our luxuries.'
"It might be that we work out more efficient ways of transporting food around the world using wind or solar, then CO2 isn’t an issue." we should be looking to the local shop or even our own backyard for our food supply!
Food miles are the measure of the distance a food travels from field to plate..
This travel adds substantially to the carbon dioxide emissions that are contributing to climate change - which is why food miles matter.
To take one example, strawberries are flown in from warmer climates to satisfy our desire for permanent dietary summertime, and air freight has a far bigger impact on the environment than sea or road travel has. …….Buy Local…Eat Local….
Another reason for mounting food miles is comparative labour costs. For example, some British fish is now sent to China (where labour costs are much lower) for processing, then sent back to the UK to be sold ?????
The transport of live animals is an important animal welfare issue. The numbers of animals being hauled around the country have grown with the trend for large, centralised abattoirs and meat-processing plants. Animals are also exported and imported to and from other countries. For consumers, there is also the question of quality. Freshly picked fruit and vegetables are better nutritionally, as well as having more taste.
walking to local shops and markets
make fewer trips to the supermarkets – saving fuel costs or use public transport
buying fresh ingredients and choosing to buy local produce to cook at home
Use Food Cooperatives, share with friends and neighbours to buy in bulk
grow your own vegetables and fruit
Local food systems can reduce "food miles" and transportation costs, offering significant energy savings. Consumers also benefit from fresher, better-tasting, and more nutritious food, while more food dollars stay within rural communities
The concept of food miles also includes waste, which must be transported from your home to a landfill site. The average household throws away more than three kilograms of food and 14 kilograms of food packaging per week.
Buy locally grown organic food rather than imported ~ a typical basket of 26 imported organic foods may have travelled the distance of six times around the equator. Organic farming cuts down on the fossil fuels used to manufacture and transport the chemicals used in mainstream agriculture
A single Briton's shopping basket of 26 imported organic products could have travelled 241,000km and released as much CO2 into the atmosphere as an average four bedroom household does through cooking meals over eight months.
Why does our food travel so far? Food travels further these days partly because the centralised systems of supermarkets have taken over from local and regional markets. It defies common sense, but a pint of milk or a crop of potatoes can be transported many miles to be packaged at a central depot and then sent many miles back to be sold near where they were produced in the first place. B8_s2_2