Why the Food Miles Campaign?

The most important environmental criteria for buying food in Canada is to minimize the distance between field and table. It’s best to buy locally grown organic food. Buying local produce helps support Canadian farms located near urban areas and reduces the environmental costs associated with food transport.

Buying local produce also helps conserve precious farmlands and wildlife habitats. In Canada, the best agricultural land is located near our largest cities. Keeping this land in production instead of converting it to strip malls and suburban housing will conserve fertile land and preserve biological diversity for the future.

Food Miles

The closer consumers are to their food producers, the greater the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants from food transportation.

Apples fromFood Miles
(km from Saskatoon)
Shipped byCarbon Footprint
Regina 257 Truck 69.4 Grams
China 10232 Plane 11265.4 Grams

In a recent British study, buying local apples resulted in 87% lower greenhouse gas emissions than buying apples imported from New Zealand. Similarly, by increasing local production and decreasing transportation by only 10%, researchers in Iowa estimated that savings could range from 280 to 446 thousand gallons of fuel and from 6.7 to 7.9 million pounds of CO2 emissions. While these are foreign examples, they would seem to be applicable to Canada.

Economic Benefits

An additional benefit associated with buying locally includes the increase in local employment. One study estimated that 50,000 new jobs, both in farming and food processing, could be created if households in Ontario ate the same proportions of local food today as they did in the early 1970s.

What you can do

To eat locally grown and seasonal produce, Canadians need to either shop at farmers’ markets or ask grocers to bring in local fruits and vegetables. Buying local generally means the produce is fresher and healthier. The vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables start breaking down after they are picked. A great way to obtain local produce is to grow it yourself in small home gardens. This will reduce your food bill and help you learn more about the connections between food and nature.

* taken from the Green Guide to David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge

Slow Food

Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.

Link: Slow Food Calgary

11-Year-Old Describes Broken Food System

At a conference for young people in Asheville, North Carolina, Birke Baehr discusses food irradiation, GMOs, CAFOs, farm run-off, the problem with marketing food to kids and more.