Thursday, January 7, 2010

Produce miles

GOOD has compiled a very interesting graphic showing the distance that produce travels when it's local or "conventional" (I don't like this terminology). I originally found this on TheKitchn but the original graphic can be seen here and it really informative. I do have a few points though...

1. The food miles were calculated for Iowa and they say it should be generally applicable, but I live in DC. A long way from Iowa! A lot of produce is grown on the west coast so if I'm eating a lot things grown there vs things that can be grown somewhere on the east coast it's going to make a big difference for my food miles.

2. This doesn't include international produce, only produce that is grown in the US. This is a big problem, a lot of produce is shipped in from other countries and has huge food miles - especially in the winter, leaving it out greatly reduces the impact of this information. I've definitely been eating Clementines from Spain all week (yea I know...but I LOVE them). However, I imagine it would be harder to calculate international food miles.

3. I dislike the term "conventional" when referring the internationalization of the food system. There is nothing conventional about shipping produce around the world, it's an entirely modern phenomenon. Eating foods that are produced locally is the conventional way to eat! I would prefer saying local vs non-local.

A perk to my new place is that it's just a quick jaunt to DC's Eastern Market. It's one of the largest and oldest markets in the US and has everything including seasonal produce. Unfortunately it's really far from where I live now, so I've never quite made it there to check it out. After the move, I'll have to go on a walking road trip.

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