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Local Food Reduces Food Miles

Last week there was a 23 mile tailback of lorries queueing to cross the channel. How many contain food and how many aeroplanes are transporting our food thousands of miles and belching out green house gases in the process?

Unfortunately the UK imports around 40%-50% of the food it consumes. We must reduce this!

Our food system is still based on the days of free trade and a global food strategy of maximising food production without any consideration for soil health or carbon emissions.

Flying in food typically creates around 10 times more carbon emissions than road transport and around 50 times more than shipping.

What should I buy?

Airfreight accounts for around 11 per cent of the UK’s food-transport emissions (high-value, perishable products, like out-of-season berries). Why can’t we wait for, and celebrate, the season for fresh local berries? Or get them free, foraged from local blackberry bushes!

Did you know that it takes the same weight in fuel to fly one kiwi fruit to the UK from New Zealand as the fruit itself!

DEFRA estimates that moving food is responsible for 25 per cent of all miles covered by heavy goods traffic in the UK. Transporting food around the UK produces 19 million tonnes of CO2 annually – equivalent to around 5.5 million typical cars.

Plus if you regularly drive to large, out-of-town supermarkets, the miles add up to around 135 miles a year in the car to do our food shopping for the typical family.

Local, Tasty. And really good for them.

Back in 2007 Tesco announced plans to label all products sold with their respective carbon footprint. Five years later, they dropped the plan blaming the huge amount of work involved.

Local food by comparison can be extremely low on food miles or even zero if home grown. This is also coupled with the bonus of consumers reconnecting and communicating with local farmers and encouraging the reduction of environmental damage through conversion to more sustainable farming practices such as sustainable mixed farming and organic.

So please buy local using BigBarn’s shared, constantly evolving, Local Food Map. If you see any errors or omissions in your area simply send us an email and you will be added to our monthly prize draw to win a £25 gift voucher to spend in our MarketPlace.

And please put pressure on your local supermarket (if you still go!) to stop their disgraceful practice of not clearly segregating imported produce from British and local. For more on this we have a previous blog here.