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By Dominique Bayne, Former Senior Horticulturist on Jul 29, 2008
I love the fact that the current eat local movement has been making people look at what they eat and consider the health and environmental consequences of their food.
A friend sent me an article which made me stop and think about the changes I have made to my diet. Are they based on fact? Is eating local really the best choice?
As with all of these things there is no simple answer. Among other things they compared the carbon footprint of a glass of locally produced apple juice to imported orange juice from Brazil - the import had a lower carbon footprint.
One point is clearly made that whilst the distance your food has traveled to reach you is relevant it is not necessarily the biggest factor. The energy put into food production is often a much bigger factor. Sometimes food can be produced much more efficiently farther away than locally.
That said, the author does leave us with a conclusion that appeals to the gardener:
"So unless eating local means digging up veggies from my back garden or living next to a farm, I’m not counting on it to reduce my carbon footprint."
The benefits and joys of growing your own food right outside your door are hard to surpass. The beauty of the Kitchen Garden or the Demonstration Community Gardens in the Fountain Beds this year (pictured above) show that growing your own food can be about far more than just reducing your carbon footprint.