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Do a quick check of your food miles

Date Published: 06/08/2009

The distance our food travels is important to many people. Some of it does silly trips up and down the country going from farm, manufacturer or packer to depots spread around the country and often back again to reach stores a few logomiles from where it started.

Some of it comes from all over the world; sometimes unavoidably, sometimes just because it can be hauled in cheaper from abroad.

Organic directory website,, has now launched a food miles calculator to allow shoppers to do a quick check of the distance produce might have racked-up to reach them. The aim, according to site owner and food miles calculator developer, Mike Sharp, is to encourage more local sourcing of food, preferably direct from the producer.

Mike told us: “People often do not fully understand the impact on the environment of buying fruit and vegetables from abroad. By buying local, not only are you helping to cut down on carbon emissions, but you are also supporting your local economy and grower.”

Of course the argument isn’t simple. It’s entirely possible that a product grown in its natural climate and transported to the UK could use less carbon than an equivalent grown here in a heated poly tunnel. But the answer to that is to buy local and seasonal. But while we’re all wrestling with how far our food-buying consciences will let us go in changing our eating habits, you can at least take a quick peek at the miles involved and decide quite how guilty you should feel!