Not Evangelism

Friday, June 17, 2011

Food Miles Oversimplify Local Food

There's an interesting article over at TreeHugger this week on how (and why) the notion of "Food Miles" oversimplifies local food.

This article raises many of the points I wanted to address in a very popular article I wrote after watching a disappointing report on BBC television's Countryfile.

Local food is a good idea. It is likely to be fresher, which quite likely means more tasty. It's almost certainly going to be seasonal. And it's going to require less fuel to transport (which, ultimately, means less carbon - good news if that's your measurement of choice). Besides which, the money for the food is more likely to go straight back into the local economy. All of which, I'm sure, are very good things, and important to me.

But locally-produced food doesn't automatically guarantee decent welfare for animals; local food won't always be produced without pesticides or fertilisers. And for some people, local food might mean genetically modified food - it's got to be grown somewhere, right?

As for food miles, they are one (vastly over-simplified) measure of the environmental impact of food production and consumption - largely a measure of carbon impact (which, it could be said, is yet another oversimplification). They're certainly not the only consideration.

As ever, the choices come down to what's right for you; what's important according to your own personal principles.

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