Saturday, August 18, 2007

Is Local Food Better?

Lately, there's been some discussion and research on the impact on the climate and environment of local foods vs. trucked in edibles. Is it better for the environment to buy a pound of locally grown tomatoes from the Murdale Farmer's Market as opposed to ones trucked in from California and sold at Kroger? From This Week magazine for 8/17/07, apparently it depends on how suitable the product is for where it is grown. For example, a study looked at lamb sold in Britain, comparing the food miles and environmental impact of lamb grown in Britain to that of lamb grown in New Zealand and shipped to Britain.

Surprisingly, despite shipping 11,000 miles to Britain, the New Zealand lamb produced fewer carbon emissions per ton (1520) than did the British lamb (6280). Since the New Zealand land grazes on sunnier grassier hills tan do the British ones, they require less care and therefore less carbon emissions.

Oh, and do you feel virtuous because you walk everywhere instead of drive? Not so fast, walking burns calories, which you have to replenish through eating food, driving doesn't. And producing food is much more carbon intensive than burning gasoline.

You can read more about effects of local food here and here. Me, I'm going to have another locally grown tomato and finish reading my magazine.

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