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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
srini n, Feb. 18, 2012

Why buy local? - Justified!

srini n
Comments (7)
  • Felicia Fahlin Felicia Fahlin April 25, 2012
    I have never been sure if locally produced is always the best alternative to reduce carbon emissions. Is it really better to buy locally produced goods if these goods are harder to produce in that specific place. For example, in Sweden, where I live, if you want to grow tomatoes here you have to do it in a greenhouse, because it's, you know, really cold and dark here most of the time. Isn't better to buy the tomatoes from Italy then, even if they had to be transported? You both seem really knowledgeable about this topic, I would really love to hear what you think!
  • Felicia Fahlin Felicia Fahlin April 25, 2012
    I've also though about that if things are produced locally the you might not be able to do so in as large scale, and isn't for example large scale agriculture more energy efficient?
  • Jason Hodin Jason Hodin April 26, 2012
    yes, Felicia, you are correct about “local” not always being the lowest footprint, and your example of the greenhouse is spot on- greenhouse tomatoes here in Seattle (grown nearby outside of Vancouver Canada) have a much higher footprint than tomatoes shipped by train or truck from Mexico. Transport costs are -despite what many think- a relatively small part of the footprint of food. An exception to this is food shipped by air, which is a very very high footprint. But food shipped by boat (such as bananas or avocados from the tropics) does not have a particularly high footprint.

    Of course, carbon footprint is not the only consideration. There are other reasons to buy local other than saving in carbon emissions.

    As for large scale versus small scale production, that is a very complex question, and there is no straight-forward simple answer. There is some energy savings with specialization and scale, but large farms tend to use tons of fertilizers (which produce massive greenhouse gas emissions as well as other pollution), water and farm equipment. So these operations are not notably green.

    However, the studies I've seen suggest that pasture raised cows produce more greenhouse emissions than a factory farmed cow. There are plenty of good reasons to consider pasture raised meat if you eat meat, but reducing greenhouse emissions is apparently not one of them.
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srini n

ProPart Solutions India P Ltd

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