As you look around you, you may notice that the variety of foods we consume are truly endless. Most of these travel very long distances, some even come from clear across the globe in their effort to get into your kitchen! Thankfully the means by which these goods travel have become many and are very effective, whether by air, sea or land… everything makes their way to our plates as quickly and in the best form possible. The term food miles describes how many miles the food has travelled to get to where it is consumed, from the place it was produced! (1 mile = 1.6 km)
What foods travel long and far?
It is usually the “stronger” types of food that are not so sensitive and can get packed correctly without getting ruined that travel hundreds of thousands of food miles! Some of these foods are bananas, various berries, avocados, cocoa, spices, tomatoes, coconuts, oranges, mangos, some cheeses, tuna fish and sooo many more…
Do any problems occur with this transportation?
The availability of these foods and the fact that they can be transported to almost every part of the planet is something that undoubtedly pleases us since it gives us the opportunity to taste foods and so many different types of fruits and vegetables that we could never have imagined existed.
On the other hand, this transportation process greatly contributes to the pollution of the environment, thereby burdening our planet further. We should keep in mind that the more demand there is for Acai berries in Europe, the more demand is place on the country (ex. Asia) that produces them to produce more. This automatically means that the more production grows, so does pollution of the atmosphere, ground and water is this particular area. In order to understand the severity of the problem and how big it is, my nutritionist used the following example:
- A single calorie of a carrot that is transported from South Africa to Europe requires 66 calories of fuel, raising the production of carbon dioxide to unthinkable levels! (The emission of carbon dioxide form human activity constitutes an indicator of environmental pollution.)
Is there a solution?
Of course there is! In my opinion, especially in a country like Greece, it is so easy to find fruit and vegetables. Many domestic goods are transported in a frozen manner within the same territory. Frozen foods are also very nutritious and do not add to the pollution of the environment. Choose local fruits and vegetables! That should actually be enough.
Visit the “Seasonal” section on my website where you can find tons of information about which season is right for each type of fresh foods as well as their nutrients. It will let you know when each type of food is produced and when it is time to consume it, without it having to travel many food miles to get to you!
You can also click on www.foodmiles.com, where you can find all you want to know about the endless travels of food! I am always here to help you solve any problems, questions or issues you may come across!
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Nutritionist/Dietitian Chistos Pagavaggeli.