One of the biggest arguments for consuming local food is the need to reduce our carbon footprint by avoiding food which has travelled many miles to get to our plates.
So just how far does some of our favourite food have to travel to find its way in to your meal?
Let’s take a Spanish grown tomato for example:
Using the handy Food Miles Calculator I can see that if I live in the UK and buy Spanish grown produce from my local supermarket, the tomato in my salad will have travelled approximately 787 miles (estimating it’s origin as Madrid).
This doesn’t take into account any miles it may have taken after arriving in the UK. It’s likely to have been transported to a warehouse/distribution centre before being shipped to its final retail destination. After that, it still needs to get to your place. You can see that the miles quickly add up and contribute to your carbon footprint.
Depending on the mode of transport used to deliver my Spanish tomato to my local supermarket, the carbon emissions would vary but according to the Food Miles Calculator:
If this distance was covered by an Aeroplane that would create approximately
283 kgCO2 or 77 kg Carbon
If this distance was covered by a Car that would create approximately
228 kgCO2 or 62 kg Carbon
If this distance was covered by a Train that would create approximately
79 kgCO2 or 21 kg Carbon
So What Can You Do?
Buy local! It’s much better for the environment if you can either buy local (or grow your own) but be careful, large supermarket chains tend to transport local food (from producer to warehouse to store) so try and buy direct from producers or from local retailers close to the source wherever possible.
Farmer’s markets are great places to source local food, check to see what’s on in your local area. Don’t forget farm shops who often offer a mixture of own grown and locally sourced meat, dairy, fruit, veg, preserves etc. Check out the Woking Local Food Directory to see what’s available near you.