Food miles essentially refers to the distance that the food you buy has traveled from the producer so that it is available in the shop in which you are buying it. The idea behind reducing your food miles is to lessen your contribution to the use of fossil fuels that is necessary to transport food long distances. Not only does it apply to the fuel used in vehicles that transport food but also includes the energy needed to store, preserve and package the food so that it can make the journey in good condition.
TIPS ON HOW TO SOURCE LOCALLY & REDUCE FOOD MILES:
- Shop at farmer’s markets and local stores: you not only avoid the processing, packaging, heating, and refrigeration that transporting food long distances entails – all of which consume energy – you also support small, local businesses.
- Eat seasonally: Not only are in-season food more likely to have been sourced locally, but it’s better for your health to eat them.
- Think about transport method: it is not just the distance that a foodstuff travels that impacts upon its food miles; it is also the method of transportation.
- Buy in bulk: purchasing foodstuffs that can be stored for a long time – such as grains, flours, tinned goods – in large quantities makes sense in terms of both reducing food miles and saving money.
- Cook from scratch: by cooking from scratch, you use ingredients that are sold as single products and will not have used as much energy in their preparation.
- Eat less meat: in modern industrial agriculture, most livestock animals do not forage, and are fed grain or vegetable based food, so the cultivation of the ingredients for this feed is added to the already high consumption of fuel and water that meat production entails.
- Grow your own food: the ultimate way to reduce your food miles – to zero, in fact – is to grow your own.
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