Thursday, October 7, 2021
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Food miles

So, I have to ask you as I asked myself, “How far would you go to buy fresh produce if you had to pick it yourself?” To ask another way, “Do you think of ‘food miles’ as in how far your food has to travel to you before you can buy it and eat it?” 

The people at Food Connect explain it far better than I can – how all of our small actions add up to a much larger environmental footprint.

Globally … The conventional globalised agriculture and food system is unfair and out of balance in the following ways:

– Unprecedented land clearing and rural communities are displaced in a global land and water grab to keep the system expanding;

– We’re witnessing diminishing plant variety and diversity;

– High dependence on fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals, all of which are reaching their peak;

– Small and family farms rapidly declining with corporate agribusiness taking over;

– Obesity and diabetes now affects 400 million people;

– Contributes to 33 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions;

– 40 per cent of food purchased is wasted;

– 1 billion people, mostly rural women and children, are starving and malnourished. 

Locally … We’re facing a crisis in skills shortage: 

– From 1990-2007 Australian grain farmers numbers dropped by a fifth; 

– Dairy farmers have declined by three-quarters; 

– Family farmers are squeezed to “get big or get out”;

– As Australian agriculture has become more “efficient” and achieved higher levels of “productivity”, the financial and social burdens on many farmers and their families have reached and exceeded breaking point;  

– Getting big often means taking on huge debts, which creates high levels of stress and anxiety. The rates of suicide and depression amongst male farmers and agricultural workers is more than double that of the urban employed population.

Upon reading this, I find it quite overwhelming. It’s certainly confronting to think how far-reaching are the effects of our food purchasing choices – not least with regard to food miles. It’s something to keep in mind when we buy anything. It all counts. 

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