Friday, November 08, 2013

Do city Farmers' Markets save Food Miles?

Food transported many miles burns up fossil fuel and contributes to global warming. “Food miles” - the total distance in miles the food item is transported from field to plate - has become accepted as a convenient indicator of sustainability. It has led to a general movement towards local production and local consumption.
Since the 1980's, the annual amount of food moved by heavy goods vehicles has increased by 23 percent with the average distance for each trip also up by 50 percent.
We need to get back to basics and look for local food. The rise in food miles has led to increases in the environmental, social and economic burdens associated with transport. These include carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution, congestion, accidents and noise.
Buying local food is clearly the way to go and Farmers' Markets seem to be springing up everywhere. But is the food sold there really local?
Many stallholders travel for four or five hours to city markets which have become big businesses. Some leave their base on a Friday with enough 'stuff' to sell at three or four markets over a weekend. That can hardly be described as 'local' and it also means that produce which should be kept cool may be outside of any form of temperature control for 48 hours before it is finally sold.
At Freeranger Eggs we have a farm policy which limits us to within one hour of the farm – so we don't do any city markets. The closest we get to Melbourne is The Old Cheese Factory at Berwick (tomorrow) and the McKinnon Farmers' Market on the first Saturday every month.

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