Issues > Food & Drink > Environment > Food Miles & Buying Local
Food Miles are the distance food travels between production and consumption. The further the food moves, the more greenhouse gases produced by the boats, trucks, and other vehicles needed to transport this food. Many products or the ingredients in them have had to travel thousands of kilometres to end up on your supermarket shelf. Think of all the greenhouse gases emitted just to get one meal to your plate!
You can cut down on your food miles by buying products made in Australia with Australian ingredients. The best way to do this is to buy from local independent grocers, farmers' markets, or directly from the Australian producer. If that's not possible, you can use the country of origin label, which is on most foods you find at the supermarket. Most food made in Australia will have a kangaroo logo and let you know what percentage of the ingredients is Australian. Food saying "Product of Australia" or "Grown in Australia" are made here using 100% Australian ingredients. You should aim for these products as much as possible.
Don't forget that air pollution from transportation is not the only way agribusiness damages the environment. How foods are produced can also wreak havoc on the natural world. There is little point in choosing an Australian product to cut down food miles if the product itself causes significant environmental damage. Consider the impact of how your food is made as well as its transportation.
Things you can do:
Buy Local. Purchase from local independent co-ops and grocers rather than the big supermarket chains. In the market, ask your local grocer where the produce comes from. You should also check out Local Harvest, our resource for finding good local food close to you!
The Australian Farmers' Markets Association has a tool for finding farmers' markets and even resources to help you start your own!
In the supermarket, choose items labelled "Product of Australia" or "Grown in Australia". Otherwise, choose items made in Australia with a high percentage of Australian ingredients. You learn more on the ACCC's website.