Food miles (or food kilometres) describe the distance food is transported as it travels from producer to consumer. Choosing food that is local and in season means it does not have to travel so far. Reducing food miles can have a dramatic effect on reducing carbon dioxide emissions [more on that in the next blog].
|Food miles illustration courtesy biegpozdrowie blogspot|
It seems that in the UK the distance that our food travels from producer to plate has increased by over 50% in the last 10 years and estimates put the cost of all these food miles – which have more than doubled since 1975 – at £9 billion every year, of which more than half is due to the road congestion it causes.
There is a lot of information aimed at children on food miles as it is a bit more tangible than other areas. Just looking at our choice of bananas gives us food miles lessons and also of course might involve human rights and Fair-trade issues too. But I still buy them even though the nearest banana to me in the UK is thousands of miles away - about 4,000 to be precise as they are most likely to come from the Windward Islands in the West Indies. According to New Scientist the banana is the most popular product on the world’s supermarket shelves ...and yes I still have the taste of my breakfast banana in my mouth as I write this.
|food miles book|
Finally did you know that if you avoid “ready meals” or heavily processed foods your carbon debt drops by 200kg a year.