It’s really difficult to calculate the impact of our foods as they all come from different places where the farming of them can be vastly varied, but we can average out the figures.
Studies show the distance our food travels to get to us accounts for up to 10% of most food products’ carbon footprint. Processes on farms (shown in brown) and changes in land use (shown in green) typically account for much more of the emissions from our food._ Red meat already has very high emissions so the food miles represent a much lower percentage overall whereas fresh produce has a lower intensity of emissions and travel can therefore represent approximately 10% of the related emissions.
Translation: What you eat is much more important than whether your food is local if need to make a choice BUT we encourage you to eat local – just think about what you’re eating first. If you can cut down most of your red meat, lamb and dairy you’ve made the biggest impact in your diet.
Our food system is completely unsustainable and our individual choices (where accessible) impact this a lot. We certainly shouldn’t be shipping foods across the world just because they’re not in season where we are It’s not only the overall emissions but also the land and labor we’re exploiting in another country to feed our own desires. It doesn’t make any sense. Thanks to our economic system numerous countries also grow produce, export that item overseas and then import the same item grown somewhere else; it is madness. Ultimately all these emissions add up too and if the food goes to waste at the end of the chain (that’s our plates) that renders it even crazier to ship across the world (any food waste is a tragedy in this modern world).
Eating local also helps your local economy, supports produce farmers, enables better farming practises, and ensures you eat in season (which is great for living wherever you do if you have access to fresh food, but also helps the budget). Did we mention eat in season wherever possible?