Monday, March 10, 2008

Another look at food miles

I'll never argue 'food miles' as one of my main reasons for eating locally. My main concerns are taste, freshness, sustainability, healthy eating, and supporting local farmers. However, here from the Washington Post is a calculation of fuel per conventional vs. farmers market food miles for all those naysayers who seem to think decreasing one's food miles is the only reason anyone would go to the trouble of eating locally. This won't shut them up, but at least it provides an alternative point of view. The writer is a farmer and a fellow and director of Appalachian Sustainable Development.

Of late, a number of commentators have disparaged local food economies, based on two claims: First, that shipping food long distances in fully loaded tractor-trailers is more efficient than local transactions; and, second, that consumers travel much further to buy local foods, creating more, not less carbon emissions. They're wrong.

I don't know whose calculations are correct. I hope local eating also helps lower my environmental impact, at least a little. But even if it had zero net positive effect on my carbon footprint, I'd still eat local.

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