Monday, 27 October 2014

Food Miles

Picture gotten from


So, if you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I'm not totally against food miles and that I said that I will blog about why I am not 100% against it.

Okay! So, food miles is basically a measure of the distance covered by your food from where it is produced to the plate of its consumers and it is usually used to make people more aware of the carbon footprints of what they choose to eat and make them more environmentally conscious and basically "save the planet." This sound awesome, doesn't it? So, why am I not totally for it?

Well, the concept of food miles doesn't take into consideration all that it should do when helping someone judge whether to buy something in order not to promote or encourage businesses and companies that are emitting great amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the environment and consume TONNES of energy. For example, in the case of growing tomatoes here in the UK, WAY more energy will be consumed than if the tomatoes were grown in a warmer place like Spain and then importing it over here. Or...or....(I'm on a roll here!) growing rice in deserts or citrus fruits in Arctic nations. Their energy consumption and environmental impacts will be HUGE compared to if they were grown in a more suitable nation and then imported by the country that requires them. You see, the carbon emissions can be WAAAAY greater producing some of these foods locally!

Another thing is that the food miles of the ingredients in the ready-made foods we eat especially those prepared and consumed locally can have LARGE food miles which means that they can have some pretty dandy effects on the environment (pure sarcasm there). Take for instance a Christmas cake and bread sauce both made and consumed in London. These two can have food miles of approximately 34,000 and 10, 800 respectively. Why? Well.....(OH! I AM ON A ROLL HERE!) with the Christmas cake, the sugar could have been imported from Guyana, the orange from Israel, the nutmeg from Indonesia, the lemon from Cyprus and the nuts from Brazil!! That'll be a food mile of 34, 268 if the ingredients were gotten from those countries to be used to make a Christmas cake which will be consumed locally in London.

Lastly, fair trade. Many of you know what that's all about. Fair trade aims to improve the quality of life of farmers through the selling of their produce. Why wouldn't you want to help them? Especially those who you are way better off than? Huh?

Okay! So, you see some of the weaknesses of this concept that we call 'food miles' and you can see why I am not totally for it.

I still eat bananas from Spain, tomatoes (and pasta) from Italy and God only knows where the rest of my fruits and vegetables (and pasta) come from! I actually do not consider food miles when I go shopping. I do prefer to buy organic produce and fair trade when available, but food miles....I honestly do not look out for them.

Carbon emissions and climate change are a pain, I know, but we can be causing more damage  to the environment producing certain things locally.

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