Check your food odometer

odometer

We’ve all heard the benefits of local foods, from taste and freshness to preserving open space and contributing to local economies. And we know intuitively that there is something wrong about eating air-freighted raspberries in the dead of winter or apples trucked cross-country when they grow in all 50 states. Now we have a concrete measure, as food miles enters the enlightened lexicon. Measuring the distance that food travels from farm to plate, and calculating the related carbon emissions, gives consumers a simple way to gauge the impact of their food choices.

Far Foods is an innovative labeling system that draws on the data already contained within a product’s bar code:

label courtesy of James Reynolds

label courtesy of James Reynolds

The labels highlight both the food miles and transport method, shedding light and transparency on an often-overlooked link in the food chain. Not yet in production, the system is currently being eyed by a number of supermarket chains.

While food miles is just one part of a food’s environmental impact, it’s something to consider the next time you toss those New Zealand lamb chops or Chilean winter plums into your shopping cart.

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