Sunday Read: Is local food better?
World Watch reporter Sarah DeWeerdt talks to Rich Pirog, the man who defined the oft-repeated statistic that food travels about 1,500 miles from farmers to consumers, about the meaning and value of local food:
"Food miles are a good measure of how far food has traveled. But they're not a very good measure of the food's environmental impact," [Pirog says.]
That impact depends on how the food was transported, not just how far. For example, trains are 10 times more efficient at moving freight, ton for ton, than trucks are. So you could eat potatoes trucked in from 100 miles away, or potatoes shipped by rail from 1,000 miles away, and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their transport from farm to table would be roughly the same, via WorldWatch.