Most of us, when we carry out our weekly shopping, have no idea how complex our global food system is. Much of the food we put in our supermarket trolleys has been produced and processed in locations or countries that are hundreds, if not thousands of kilometers away. External environmental and community costs related to the production, processing, storage, and transportation of the food we eat are seldom accounted for in the price we pay for a product, nor are consumers made aware of these costs.
On this topic of food miles, we have come across an interesting paper that discusses transportation from farm to point of sale within local, regional, and conventional food systems.
Food, Fuel, and Freeways: an Iowa perspective on how far food travels, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions/ by Rich Pirog et al
Using fresh produce and other foods as examples, the authors have considered miles traveled, fossil fuels used, and carbon dioxide emissions, and assessed potential environmental costs. This report has been carried out in the context of the American state of Iowa, but it could be valid for many parts of the developed world.