Where Does Your Food Come From?

Posted on Jun 14 2011 - 2:33am by Mike Lieberman

One of the reasons that I started my fire escape garden in 2009 is because I learned that on average our food travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate. That’s about the distance from one coast of the United States to the center of the country.

The next time you are at the grocery store or supermarket (aren’t they the same thing?), pick up some produce and look at the label to see where it’s from. I started to do this when I was living in NYC and saw Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and other far off countries. There wasn’t even anything from my country, nonetheless my state.

It got me thinking about all of the variables that go into getting that food to the store and what it means for me to purchase.

  • Oil is used to transport the food, which has an environmental impact. It also effects the rising food prices.
  • Nutrients are likely lost because it’s been harvested 3-4 weeks before it even made it to the shelf of the store.
  • Local farmers are affected because we are shipping it in from elsewhere instead of a local source.

These are what got me started apartment gardening in New York and why I keep doing it with my balcony garden in LA. When I was in NYC, I got a lot of my produce from a CSA. Now that I’m in LA, I go to the farmers market a few times a week. So I’m fortunate that most of my food is grown pretty close to me.

1,500 miles is a pretty long distance for food to be traveling and it’s not completely necessary. You can start growing some of your own and support your local farmers.

What’s your thoughts on food traveling so far? Were you aware of this?