Fair trade vs. Food miles: One Welshman's View

An op-ed piece written by Steve Brooks, the acting head of Oxfam Cymru, for the Western Mail, a Welsh paper, raises an interesting question: should we avoid fair trade goods from the developing world to help cut down on food miles?

Brooks, for one, questions whether producing tropical fruits, vegetables, or flowers locally to cut down on food miles could result in a greater volume of emissions because of the energy requirements to maintain artificial conditions, i.e. greenhouses.
Moreover, he says, while local food advocates' arguments for eating local -- like supporting small farmers and giving back to the local economy -- are worthy points, fair trade products have their own associated benefits, like supporting social and economic development projects like schools, clinics, clean water supply and proper sanitation.

Ultimately Brooks argues that food transportation currently contributes relatively little to carbon dioxide emissions. He points out that if everyone in the United Kingdom switched one 100W light bulb to a low energy equivalent, CO² emissions would be reduced in one year by 4.7 times the amount saved by boycotting fresh fruit and vegetables from sub-Saharan Africa. :: Via icWales

Tags: Agriculture | Carbon Dioxide | Fair Trade

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