Talk:Food miles

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Bad Calculations[edit]

I saw an article on the BBC news once about the food miles in a BLT Sandwich that left me raging. They added up the miles travelled by each part of the sandwich and presented that as the "food miles for one BLT". They didn’t factor in, that each leg of the journey was carrying ingredients for multiple sandwiches (eg, enough bacon for 10,000 sandwiches), the result was an incredible number (I cant recall it but was) between 1000-3000 miles.

If someone comes across a similar article it would be nice to debunk this awful misrepresentation. --Fepple 13:15, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

If the BLT was flown to you from the other side of the world in a high speed jet it would still have less 'food miles'. The concept is extremely limited, and I find it far too simplistic even considering the need to keep things simple. Its only real use is in raising awareness about the issue. Richard001 (talk) 22:56, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Richard001- Is this some kind of 'new math', or is it that physics and geometry don't apply to die-hard food milers? The "...other side of the world..." on land is roughly 12,000 miles. A BLT that travels 1000-3000 miles (as Fepple states) has traveled much less distance than your BLT on the high-speed jet that would have to travel 12,000 miles. Actually, the jet would travel even further due to the increased radius of flying at "high-speed jet" altitude. Fepple is right when he condemns dishonest (or plain incompetent) methods of calculating food miles. Joe Hepperle (talk) 11:01, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

New Zealand[edit]

The article was turning into a rather one-sided defence of New Zealand farming industry - food miles is a useful concept and deserves more positive things said about it - below is what I removed, sbandrews (t) 13:21, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I have added parts of this section back in as it gives a referenced Criticism of the food miles concept. I belive that it is not ment to be a justification of New Zealand framing industry but highlights some of the limitations with it. If other reports from different countries can be found both in favour and against then they should also be added. It should be noted that this was the only part of the artical which cited any references. This section "Given the high level of subsidies required to support many food producers in the European Union, this is also seen as an indicator of the inefficient resource use from farming in Europe, compared to low or unsubsidised producers in Australia and New Zealand." has no justifiaction and I agree with the one sided ness of it so have not added it back. Thought I do think that the distoring effect of subsisies are important they do not directly relate to food miles. Ctjohnst 21:06, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

An extensive study[edit]

Food Miles – Comparative Energy/Emissions Performance of New Zealand’s Agriculture Industry by Lincoln University of Christchurch New Zealand refutes claims about food miles by comparing total energy used in food production in Europe and New Zealand, taking into account energy used to ship the food to Europe for consumers.

"New Zealand has greater production efficiency in many food commodities compared to the UK. For example New Zealand agriculture tends to apply less fertilisers (which require large amounts of energy to produce and cause significant CO2 emissions) and animals are able to graze year round outside eating grass instead large quantities of brought-in feed such as concentrates. In the case of dairy and sheepmeat production NZ is by far more energy efficient even including the transport cost than the UK, twice as efficient in the case of dairy, and four times as efficient in case of sheepmeat. In the case of apples NZ is more energy efficient even though the energy embodied in capital items and other inputs data was not available for the UK."

Given the high level of subsidies required to support many food producers in the European Union, this is also seen as an indicator of the inefficient resource use from farming in Europe, compared to low or unsubsidised producers in Australia and New Zealand.

Criticism[edit]

Some of the criticism is badly worded, especially the last paragraph. I added a rebuttal to the first criticism, and separated it in to two section, though I'm uncertain about the wording of the second title. Change is at http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Food_miles&oldid=183807339 --naught101 (talk) 08:48, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Walmart exorbitantly increases greenhouse emissions[edit]

The claim that Walmart's use of suppliers from China "...exorbitantly increases greenhouse emissions...", besides being an unsourced personal conclusion of the wikipedia editor, is easily deniable and patently untrue. Now think carefully and don't rush to incorrect conclusions. When Walmart started using suppliers in China, 35 years ago, they then increased (past-tense in 2009) greenhouse emissions. Walmart has been using China as a supplier for decades so their current use, now, of Chinese suppliers does not now "...exorbitantly increase..." greenhouse emissions. Additionally, the term "exorbitant" is subjective hyperbole. The term "increase" is relative -- "increase" compared to what? There are thousands of companies worldwide that contract for shipping tonnage. Walmart is just one of them. Books for Africa is the world's largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent. Would we say that they "...exorbitantly increase greenhouse emissions..." in their zeal to help the children on the African Continent? As an industry, retailing is way down on the list of Nation's Largest Shippers Manufacturing (which is not Walmart) is responsible for more than 60% of all shipping. The Retailers group, of which Walmart is just one of hundreds of thousands (even though they may be the largest single one), in total only account for about 20-25% of shipping. To characterize Walmart's contribution to greenhouse gasses correctly, one would have to produce authentic comparative numbers showing exactly where on the scale Walmart "fits in" compared to all other users of shipping tonnage. A blatant broad-brush non-quantified statement that Walmart "...exorbitantly increases greenhouse emissions..." is "exorbitantly" inappropriate. Joe Hepperle (talk) 10:39, 3 October 2009 (UTC)