In the earlier days, transport was limited, but as it increased over the years, the rate of pollution also started rising. So, transportation (of goods, people, etc.) can be termed as one of the major causes of pollution. In a world where people are fascinated with imports, long distance transportation is inevitable, but it can surely be reduced if the demand for local products rises.
Food miles indicate the distance between production area of the food and the consumer. If food miles are more, then it will lead to long distance transportation, which will lead to environmental pollution, and will eventually contribute to global warming (as large quantity of fuels are used for transportation). Reducing the food miles will lead to decreasing the transportation, and thus will help in preserving the environment. In addition to this, you can always get fresh food, if the food miles are less.
Consumer Behavior Impact
As I mentioned earlier, imports considerably increase food miles, so before buying food stuffs from a supermarket, check the labels to see where the product was produced, go for food products that come from your local market, or nearby markets. The producers of food products, usually track the market to analyze consumer behavior, once they deduce that the demand for food products from the faraway markets has reduced, automatically the import rates will come down.
Encouraging Local Markets
Encourage local farmers, fishmongers, butchers, and all other sources of food products in the local market, by buying from them. This will have 2 benefits:
- You will reduce the food miles.
- It will boost the local economy.
Avoid Adding Food Miles
When you go out in your vehicle, to buy food products from a store (or farm), you are adding to food miles. Here are a few ways by which you can avoid this:
- Using public modes of transportation is one of the best ways to avoid adding to the food miles, as you won't pollute the environment by the emissions from your car.
- Try to go shopping in groups, so multiple instances of traveling are avoided.
- Avoid frequent visits to the market, and prefer walking or cycling to go to the nearby supermarket.
I recommend you to use the Internet to locate local farms, to find information about the fruits and vegetables grown by such farms, and to know about any events organized by them. Once you start encouraging the local markets, they will surely start producing high quality food products, and you might realize that you underestimated them.
Reducing food miles can be your first step towards the conservation of the environment. If you are concerned about the environment, then this is the least that you can do. If you have the time, you can also educate others, and ask them to reduce food miles. If every person contributes to this cause, environmental pollution can be reduced to a great extent.
The next time you go to the supermarket, and pick up your favorite imported food product, think for a moment; do you really need it? Is there a local alternative for this? If you really care about the environment, and you want to reduce environmental pollution, you will surely go for the local alternative!