inFact: Locally Grown Produce





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Published on Jul 27, 2010

Is buying locally grown produce a good way to be green and help the environment? http://infactvideo.com/

Everyone loves the fresh produce at a Farmers Market. And we love that it traveled a minimal distance to get here, thus being as environmentally friendly as possible. Right?

Wrong. It turns out that driving small trucks on individual routes between every farm and every store burns far more diesel fuel than combining routes and using distribution centers. Compare the tangled spider web of redundant routes when you deliver locally grown food between the closest farm and store, to the much simpler model of using a distribution center. Retailers use this model for a reason: it saves money because it burns much less fuel. And it usually accomplishes same day fresh delivery between farm and market. Many of the individual routes taken are indeed longer, but the overall mileage traveled is way, way less.

Economies of scale also play an important role. A big truck burns less fuel per pound of cargo than a small truck. A train burns even less, and it delivers at a faster average speed. The king of efficiency is a container ship. If the product can tolerate the slower delivery, it's the environmentally cleanest way to deliver anything.

You also need to consider the complete energy cycle: Not just the delivery of the food, but its production as well. In the case of meat, whether the animals can graze or have to be given feed has a huge impact. Lamb raised in New Zealand, where they can graze year-round, have to be shipped 11,000 miles to the UK. But lamb raised in the UK have to be given feed. The difference? Four times more carbon dioxide is emitted, in total, eating locally raised lamb.

Tomatoes grow like crazy in sunny Spain, but to grow them in the UK requires heated greenhouses that suck power from the grid. Shipping tomatoes from Spain to UK markets uses only half the total energy, compared to those shoppers who prefer locally grown tomatoes.

Enjoy Farmers Markets for what they are: A premium boutique experience. The tomatoes might be fresh and huge, but it's not necessarily an environmentally friendly way to get food to consumers.

Energy efficiency and local production are sometimes the same thing, but often they're not. Consider the efficiencies that can be gained growing food in a better location, reducing animal feed production, and using transportation that benefits from economies of scale. That's being truly green.

Comments • 157

Yes, Dunning truly green means consuming GMOs from large corporations like Monsanto, that have been growing monocrops on the same fiieds for years, thus increasing resistance of weeds and pests, boosting and boosting application of healthy Roundup. By the way, Roundup acts as chelating agent trapping nutrietns and blocking them from absorbtion within the plant. people by local groceries not because of carbon footprint or transportation efficiency, but because local porduce doesn`t have so much chemicals applied to them. How hard is that to understand, it is hard to believe that you ,Dunning, are such a pathetic person, Wake up, can`t be that you are so desperate for money that you have to do this?
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+unatics Considering you call Roundup a Pesticide and not an Herbicide, I submit you need to do a little more research on the matter.  
Gerald Bennett
facts please
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Dwight E Howell
I like fresh food grown by people I know that are local. The same stuff they eat and feed their kids. It's also an excuse to get out and about. Tastes good and often costs a little less. Sometimes they have other varieties than the big stores.
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+Dwight E Howell "Seasonal" isn't local for the months out of the year it is too cold, too hot, too dry or too wet to grow something.  
Dwight E Howell
+kev3d Cut the top off a pineapple, let the cut dry and you can set it out and grow a new one. Some of the locals in TN do grow bananas though I think its a waste of time. A lot of Detroit is now available for growing seasonal crops which is what I was talking about. ?8^) As for the rest, you're snarking and it shows.  Neither he nor I were suggesting people grow tropical crops in temperate zones. I'm sure you are astute enough to know that but it's always tempting to be a smart alack.
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herban jamz
this is bullshit. this guy needs a serious head check. look how much co2 we release annually. i think its around .003% of total co2 emissions? unless you look at the lies from the intergovernmental panel on climate change that is. besides that, we need to focus on taking care of ourselves or we wont live to see the ice caps melt(although they've been growing not shrinking despite al gores cute little film). This Idiot Brian Dunning sounds like a lobbyist for big corporate. Supporting aspartame, discouraging local agriculture... ya sounds about right. 
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Lisandro Garcia
Come to think of it you sound like a troll so ill let you starve lol
Lisandro Garcia
Why you say that,because I don't agree with your crazy shit, so you got to rage to prove you are right
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John Juster
If only he used truthful photos to display present food manufacturing and cattle herding.
J Berg
Brian Dunning, How do these products get from the distribution center to point of sale? Is it this tangled web of redundant routes you speak of?
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J Berg
+kev3d hot air?
High volume trucks, how else?
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J Berg
@ 1:51 where did you obtain these "facts"? UK sheep can't graze? If I buy tomatoes from a guy that grows tomatoes 5 miles from me and delivers them all by 1 trip. I find it very hard to believe that is actually more carbon intensive than a trip from California. 
This is so stupid. I can't stop laughing.
Eric Cartman
so what if i make a video saying the exact opposite? Like you i wouldnt need any information to back my claims. pretty much a waste of time to watch this video.
Worst person ever full of smoke and mirrors !!!
vaccine news
In fact reports are brought to you by pathological lying psychopaths !!!
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