The Long Journey of Produce to Your Grocery Store

Summer fruits.

Summer fruits. (Photo credit: SFB579 :))

Seeing perfectly colored and ripe fruit and vegetables at the grocery store, it is easy to forget the long journey that they have travelled. In the United States, we are used to having access to any food we desire, whether or not it is in season or can be grown locally. Pineapples, bananas and berries are everyday items, regardless of where in the country you live.

A recent National Geographic article followed a load of strawberries from Watsonville, California, to their final destination in Washington, D.C. As the author, Daniel Stone, points out: this journey plays out quietly, “thousands of times a day, never seen but almost always on schedule”. Every day, there are approximately half a million trucks carrying food on the road in the United States. On average, produce travels more than a thousand miles from its point of origin to your refrigerator.

Our carbon footprint is not only a result of the journeys we take ourselves, but the collective result of all that we consume – and our food miles contribute significantly to that.

Here at UnSpOILed, we are big proponents of growing your own food – see our recent series on urban gardening, for example. As well as being incredibly satisfying, growing your own harvest reduces the environmental impact of food transport. In addition, consider shopping at farmer’s markets and limiting yourself to certain items when they are in season. Not only does it help the environment, but it also encourages creativity and a greater appreciation of the food that nourishes us.

Do you pay attention to food miles while grocery shopping?



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Alice Kallaugher

As a Project Assistant with Campaign Consultation, Inc. I coordinate efforts across multiple teams to ensure success for projects such as the Social Innovation Fund, and the Office of Minority Health. I have worked at a student run crisis hotline, and as a community organizer, focusing on implementing social justice at the grassroots level. Read more.

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