Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How Far Does Your Non Local Food Travel?

When people take pride in buying local food, they can not only take pride in supporting the local farmer's, but also in reducing their carbon footprint.  I recently learned that non local food choices travel an average of 1500 miles before it hits your stores.  1500 MILES!  That's roughly from Dallas, TX to Los Angeles, CA and takes a travel time of 24 hours.  This distance (because I know you all like to be educated here) is called "Food Miles."

"Food miles are the distance food travels from where it is grown to where it is ultimately purchased
or consumed by the end user. The term food miles has become part of the vernacular among food
system professionals when describing the farm to consumer pathways of food.  The average WASD (weighted Average Source Distance) for locally grown produce to reach institutional markets was 56 miles, while the conventional WASD for the produce to reach those same institutional points of sale was 1,494 miles, nearly 27 times further. Conventional produce items traveled from eight (pumpkins) to 92 (broccoli) times farther than the local produce to reach the points of sale." (For more information on food miles, go here.)

Imagine the huge difference we could make if people simply started purchasing local just 50% of the time.  This is one reason why I like shopping at Whole Foods, they make it simple to purchase local (and often local and organic) produce because they clearly label where the food is coming from.  You can also obtain this type of clarity at places like Rosemeade Market or local farmer's markets (where you can often talk to the farmer himself!)!


What if all major food chains labeled their food sources?  How many Americans would begin buying local if they knew how far their food traveled and how much pollution and extra costs it involved?

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