That's a Fact!
From field to fork, an average dinner travels 1,500 miles
In 1998, the Truck Weighted Average Source Distance (WASD) for the continental United States was 1,518 miles. A food mile is the distance food travels from where it is grown or raised to where it is ultimately purchased by the consumer or end-user. A WASD can be used to calculate a single distance figure that combines information on the distances from producers to consumers and amount of food product transported.
Pirog, Rich. Food, Fuel, and Freeways: An Iowa perspective on how far food travels, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Ames, Iowa. June 2001
Why eat locally grown foods?
When you buy direct from local farmers, your dollars stay within your community, and strengthen the local economy. More than 90¢ of every dollar you spend goes to the farmer, thus preserving farming as a livelihood and farmland.1
This is important because as mergers in the food industry have increased, the portion of your food dollar paid to farmers has decreased. Vegetable farmers earn only 21¢ of your dollar; the other 79¢ goes to pay for marketing, distribution, and other costs.2
1 Like CSAs, farmers' markets provide farmers with close to 100% of the food dollar (minus a fee or small percentage paid to the market for maintenance) and a direct connection between farmer and consumer." In the words of the peach grower and writer David Mas Masumoto, farmers' markets are 'one of the saviors of the family farm. All those barriers created by the conventional marketing system are torn down. The consumer sees it isn't just a commodity — it's a peach, or a carrot, or a cabbage.'
Spector, Rebecca. “Fully Integrating Food Systems: Regaining Connections between Farmers and Consumers" Edited by Kimbrell, Andrew. (2002) Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture. Foundation for Deep Ecology. P. 353
2 In 1967, fruit farmers earned 31% of retail expenditures. In 1997, they earned only 18%. The fall for fresh vegetables is from 32% to 21%. These changes are accounted for by the increasing share of food expenditures spent on processing, marketing, and corporate profits, and most importantly by the concentration of power in food retailing which enables corporate buyers to drive down farm prices. [Elitzak 1997]
Starr, Amory; Card, Adrian; Benepe, Carolyn; Auld, Garry; Lamm, Dennis; Smith, Ken; Wilken, Karen. Barriers and Opportunities to Local Agricultural Purchasing by Restaurants and Institutional Food Buyers. Colorado State University, Department of Sociology. April, 2002.
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