How Far Food Travels
Nowadays a real concern for many american families are the increases in fuel prices to remarkable levels. While gasoline prices have dropped significantly in the last few days the country as a whole has seen gas prices averaging around $2.80 a gallon for most of the summer. I can recall just 10 years ago, during my first year of college, gas only being .94 per gallon. That is a far cry from where we are now.
Changes in economy, political issues, wars, conflict with the mideast, and demand have all caused an increase in fossil fuel costs. One resource states that growing and shipping the American food supply uses approximatly 100,000,000,000 gallons of oil per year and the food we eat travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles (2,500 and 4,000 kilometers) from farm to table.
Food travel does not only use up fossil fuels but causes many other damages as well. Rural economies such as farmers and small food business are overlooked and lose profits. Farther distances means increased risk for contamination thus increasing the need for the use of preservatives and additives to keep food from spoiling. Because of the amounts of fuel being used food transportation is a large contributor to global warming. A tpical meal purchased from your local chain grocer consumes between 4 and 17 percent MORE petroleum than if the same meal was prepared using local foods.
Eating local is really about what we can do to help our planet and help our selves. Many of us avoid “being green” because we think it takes too much work and costs too much money. You don’t have to drive a Prius and provide power for your house using solar panals to be green. You don’t have to live in a Yurt or hug trees eaither (though that is fun every once in a while). Living Green can be achieved through the small things and choosing to eat local is a choice that is relatively simple to implement and can potentially do a lot for our planet.
Here are some of the resources used to comprise this article.