The big idea that is explored in fair miles is “a fresh take on the food miles debate, this approach highlights the ethical dimension of the trade in fresh produce between developed and developing countries.” (pg. 3) This article inspires its readers to really look at what is in their plates. It rises questions such as where did your food come from, how was it grown, or raised? Food is a social, political and economic issue too. The way you choose what you eat can support the livelihoods of poor farmers half a world away. This article focuses on African Nations and the UK because fruit and vegetable export is a key international trade for a number of African countries, including some of the world’s poorest and most food-insecure nations. On the other hand the UK is the world’s largest destination for food transported by air and it receives a lot of its imports from Africa.
The concept of Food Miles is the way to measure the environmental impact of produce to calculate the distance it travels from farm to table. The fresh fruits and vegetables we buy sustain us and they also help to sustain the people who grew them. For example a small farmer in Africa, profits from exports and can afford to pay for housing and food, as well as medical care and education, for the entire family. However, in the industrialized world many are still unaware how food choices affect the society and the environment. As researchers started looking more closely at the food supply chain, they realized that environmental costs associated with food is much deeper than just the cost of growing it. The monetary value of processed food is added through processing itself, which demands a lot of fuel, which in turn produces a lot of emissions.
Agriculture is a top contributor to green house emissions gas in the UK Farming emits greenhouse gases from tillage of land, livestock, and use of electricity, fossil fuel and fertilizers. The article states “A study published last year suggests that because so much energy is needed to heat greenhouses in winter, ‘buying local’ is not always better.” However some of the supermarkets in the UK and chain restaurants have promised to reduce their food emissions by 2012.
In a geographic study shown most countries have a higher emission of carbon dioxide than the size of their population. Meaning they produce a higher amount of carbon dioxide than the amount of people that live in their country. However Africans are responsible for low levels of greenhouse gases when compared to people in industrialized countries. Kenya specifically is an African country that has one of the lowest emissions in the world even below the global average and also below global targets for future reduction.
A report done stated “if something isn’t done soon to curb greenhouse gas emissions, many countries will suffer even greater human and financial losses in the coming years.” There has been many weather related deaths and they want to stop these green house emissions before more they kill more people. Africa has a lot of unexpected changes and these unexpected changes cause the exacerbation of hunger and disease. This is becoming very evident and something needs to be done before it affects more countries.
As consumers we need to make informed choices with what we eat. What we eat can affect the lives of the people that grow them and buying locally may not always be the best choice. This article suggests that there are few simple things that the consumer can do in order to help cut emissions. For example by buying from developing countries can mean the difference between surviving and thriving for a farmer and his family. Fair-trade products also aims to alleviate poverty among producers, and promote sustainable development by helping producers make environmental protection a part of farm management and minimize energy use. Driving fewer cars can also contribute to reducing the carbon emissions as well as joining neighbors to go to the grocery store you may not want to walk or bike but even a small effort over time can reduce traffic-related emissions. Wasting less is a big way to reduce emissions because much of it goes straight into landfill sites, which are large emitters. By wasting less we can help reduce more. The article also suggests eating less meat and dairy. “Global meat and milk production is expected to double by 2050. This is likely to reduce the land and resources available for producing other foodstuffs and push future food prices further beyond the limits of affordability for the world’s poorest people.” Next time you don’t want to walk to the corner store, or buy international products remember that by doing these simple things you can help change the life of many people.