Food miles. Come on. Admit it. You have all heard of them. Do you check where your juicy supermarket Apples came from? The other side of the planet? What is wrong with the apples in the orchard down the street? Nuts isn't it? Every year we import thousands of tones of basic foodstuffs only to export similar amounts. Food swirls round and around the supply chain in ever increasing circles. Sometimes it looks like we move it just for the sake of it.
Transportation is but the tip of the iceberg. What about all the nitrogen fertiliser? Guess where that comes from? It is made from Fossil Fuels. Guess how those big mechanised farms plant those crops, spread that fertiliser, spray that pesticide and harvest those food staples? With big tractors and custom harvesting machines dosed with liberal amounts of Diesel.
One of the first things that any right-minded consumer can do is to move to locally produced product by carefully reading the country of source on most supermarket packaging. Always choose the lowest food miles. Next, choose Organic products above regular products. Organic products are grown without Fossil Fuel-derived fertilisers or mass mechanisation to spread various poisons over the crop. Some may argue that it tastes better or is better for you. (That is largely subjective although medical studies certainly suggest that grass-fed cattle produce healthier beef than intensively reared examples.) The Carbon Footprint of that Fruit & Veg is much lower because of Organic farming.
You may have heard that you will have to become Vegetarian. True - forsaking meat will reduce your Carbon Footprint because current menthods of meat production is a less efficient use of land in terms of Carbon. In the worst-case-scenario, every 10kg of vegetables fed to cattle results in only 1kg of beef. Livestock animals account for somewhere between 5 & 12% of Green House Gas emissions (depends how you calculate it). However, humans are natural omnivores... All told the total ratio of vegetable to animal production is really only 1:1.4 today. This actually means that we should cut back our meat eating by about 60%. There is no need to be a vegetarian because the most efficient use of land comes from a mixed animal and vegatable production system. The reason is that animals can convert vegetable "waste" into food.
Next, to really bring it all home, well, do it at home. No matter how big your plot, from window box to full size mega-garden, start growing your own. Yes it requires work but what else did you intend on doing with your time? Sitting at an airport or maybe driving to the Supermarket? Growing and eating your own food should be as normal as the suburban chore of mowing the lawn. It represent zero food miles and offers the lowest carbon footprint.
Under the 1922 Allotment Act in the United Kingdom it is every person's Statutory right to be provided with an allotment. Until quite recently British towns and cities had some two million allotments. Barely 200,000 remain. What is more you can keep chickens. The UK Henkeepers association is growing at a rate of 20 members per day. That is 350,000 todate. Starter packs are available from £300 GBP that include the Chickens!
So, please boycott your local supermarket. Become a familiar face at your local shop or farmers market. Choose carefully and grow your own. Maybe before it is too late. This will become normal. You may be a pioneer now but tomorrow it will be the new norm.