If you look at the source of many products on supermarket shelves, the country of origin can be a distant far away land and this translates into food miles. Obviously there are certain foodstuffs that can only really come from specific places but buying Spanish carrots, for example is just plain crazy if you live in the US or UK that have their own growers.
Importunely the phenomena is getting worse as over a decade ago more local produce was being consumed compared to only eight percent now. Local produce is not only fresher and therefore tastier but usually transported fruit, for instance, is picked well before ripening.
Some quarters argue that by importing food that Western countries are therefore offering support to underdeveloped nations. However, the burning of aviation fuel to ship fruit across the world is many times more catastrophic to the earth’s atmosphere than any carbon dioxide used by a local farmer’s tractor.
In Britain the government is considering introducing new food labeling that will include food miles, to make consumers more aware of this situation. In the United States, Wal-Mart and other larger retailers have a policy of selecting local ‘green’ suppliers over others.
A recent study by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture found that produce imported from overseas countries, notched up over twenty five more times miles than locally grown goods. The latter being a mere fifty six mile and the former almost fifteen hundred on average.
Consumer awareness is vital so that the right choices can be made and hopefully people will begin to realize that buying local has every possible benefit imaginable and will make a big difference to the environment.