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Posts Tagged ‘food miles’

The Foodprint Challenge: Sydney Workshops

Posted in Events, Movements by Jessica Bird on March 29th, 2012

From The Nature Conservation Council of NSW via What’s On: City of Sydney.

The Nature Conservation Council strongly believes in access to fresh, nutritious, safe and sustainable food for all. Supported by the City of Sydney, the ‘Foodprint Challenge’ aims to work within, promote and help develop the thriving sustainable food industry and growing green food movement that is developing across Sydney.

The Foodprint Challenge invites residents of the City of Sydney local government area to take part in our FREE workshop series. Aspiring locavores should come along to our next workshop: Food miles and growing your own produce. And if you’re keen to find out more about where to buy your food, the workshop on 3 May is for you, where we will launch our ‘Green Food Shopping Guide’ for the central Sydney region.

Wednesday 4 April 6.30 – 8.30pm
Redfern Community Centre
Guest speaker Jared Ingersoll, Danks Street Depot and author of Slow Food
Discover more about how you can reduce your impact on the environment and climate change, and meet others who are trying to do the same.

Thursday 3 May 6.30 – 8.30pm
Redfern Community Centre
Guest speaker Adam Taylor, Alfalfa House
Gain an overview of the ever expanding network of environmentally conscious food suppliers and providers in the city of Sydney, and be the one of the first to own the Sydney ‘Green Food Guide’.

Bookings are essential and can be made at

Urban Farming: Video showcase

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 22nd, 2011

Source: Bright Farm Systems

Brightfarms was featured in the Wall Street Journal, in a video piece on the growing urban farming industry. Paul Lightfoot, BrightFarms CEO, savors the taste of locally grown tomatoes at The Science Barge.

While up front capital costs are higher, the Journal reports, rooftop greenhouse farms pay off with lower operating costs, an improved environmental impact and tastier vegetables.  The other enterprises featured in the 5-minute film are Brooklyn Granges and Gotham Greens.

Watch the video on the Brightfarms blog or over on WSJ.

Beyond Food Miles: Some Types Of Food Take More Energy

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on March 17th, 2011

Source: PostCarbon Institute

Image: renatamiyagusku via flickr CC

From “Beyond Food Miles” by Michael Bomford:

NOTE: The following article is concerned strictly with the energy equation of the food system and is intended to stimulate questions about how best to grow, transport, store and prepare (ideally local) foods. There are many reasons to favor local food, including supporting local economies and building local food security.

A locavore is “a person who endeavors to eat only locally produced food.”[1] What better diet could there be for an energy constrained world? After all, feeding Americans accounts for about 15% of US energy use,[2] and the average food item travels more than 5,000 miles from farm to fork.[3] It seems obvious that eating locally will go a long way to reducing food system energy use. Yet cracking the case of America’s energy-intensive food system demands that we look beyond the obvious.

A local diet can reduce energy use somewhat, but there are even more effective ways to tackle the problem. Single-minded pursuit of local food, without consideration of the bigger picture, can actually make things worse from an energy perspective.[4]

If you realize you’re spending too much money, the first thing to do is figure out where it’s going. Cutting back on pizza won’t make much difference if you’re spending most of your money on beer. Similarly, the first step in reducing food system energy use is to figure out where all the energy is going. That’s what a team of economists working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) did last year, in a report called “Energy Use in the US Food System“.

The report contains some surprises. Transportation is the smallest piece of the food system energy pie. Even farming isn’t a particularly big contributor. The big energy users turn out to be food processing, packaging, selling, and preparation. Our kitchens command the biggest slice of the pie, using twice as much energy as the farms that grew the food in the first place.


Read the full article by Michael Bomford at the Post-Carbon Institute for more information and access to the end-notes included above.


“Fair Miles”: rethinking food miles

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on January 21st, 2010

Source: Food Climate Research Network

Fair Miles: Recharting the food miles map by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) & Oxfam warns that Western concern over climate change can do more harm than good if it cuts demand for food produced in developing nations. The authors say locally produced food can actually cause greater emissions of greenhouse gases, and that consumers can harm the livelihoods of poor farmers in developing nations if they stop buying their produce.

“Climate change will hit poorer rural people in developing nations first, fastest and hardest,” says James MacGregor of IIED. “High-value trade with such nations is critical to build rural economies that are resilient to climate change. The trade in fresh produce is one part of a global solution to this challenge…When consumers focus on ‘food miles’ they are ignoring the other social and environmental issues embedded in their shopping decisions…More than one million livelihoods in rural Africa are supported in part by UK consumption of imported fresh produce. We urge consumers to avoid knee-jerk reactions and think instead of ‘fair miles’ and recognise that there are also social and ethical aspects to choices about where food comes from.”

The researchers are not saying locally grown food is a poor choice. “Eating local food when it is in season is a critical element of a balanced diet, and is complementary to eating development-friendly foods out-of-season,” says MacGregor. The book argues that as farmers in developing nations contribute so little to climate change, they shouldn’t be penalised because we emit more in the West. It says consumers serious about changing their behaviour in order to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions should be cycling or walking to their supermarket.

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