Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Does eating local food reduce the environmental impact of food production and enhance consumer health?

  • Gareth Edwards-Jones (a1)
Abstract

The concept of local food has gained traction in the media, engaged consumers and offered farmers a new marketing tool. Positive claims about the benefits of local food are probably not harmful when made by small-scale producers at the local level; however, greater concern would arise should such claims be echoed in policy circles. This review examines the evidence base supporting claims about the environmental and health benefits of local food. The results do not offer any support for claims that local food is universally superior to non-local food in terms of its impact on the climate or the health of consumers. Indeed several examples are presented that demonstrate that local food can on occasions be inferior to non-local food. The analysis also considers the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of moving the UK towards self-sufficiency. Quantitative evidence is absent on the changes in overall emissions that would occur if the UK switched to self-sufficiency. A qualitative assessment suggests the emissions per item of food would probably be greater under a scenario of self-sufficiency than under the current food system. The review does not identify any generalisable or systematic benefits to the environment or human health that arise from the consumption of local food in preference to non-local food.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Does eating local food reduce the environmental impact of food production and enhance consumer health?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Does eating local food reduce the environmental impact of food production and enhance consumer health?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Does eating local food reduce the environmental impact of food production and enhance consumer health?
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Professor Gareth Edwards-Jones, fax +44 1248 383642, email g.ejones@bangor.ac.uk
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

1. S Friel , AD Dangour , T Garnett (2009) Health and Climate Change 4. Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: food and agriculture. The Lancet 374 (9706), 20162025.

2. E Stehfest , L Bouwman , D van Vuuren (2009) Climate benefits of changing diet. Climatic Change 95, 83102.

9. G Edwards-Jones , L Milà i Canals , N Hounsome (2008) Testing the assertion that ‘local food is best’: the challenges of an evidence based approach. Trends Food Sci Technol 19, 265274.

11. CC Hinrichs (2003) The practice and politics of food system localization. J Rural Stud 19, 3345.

13. R Feagan (2007) The place of food: mapping out the ‘local’ in local food systems. Prog Hum Geography 31, 2342.

14. A Freibauer (2003) Regionalised inventory of biogenic greenhouse gas emissions from European agriculture. Eur J Agron 19, 135160.

15. A Kasimir-Klemedtsson , L Klemedtsson , K Berglund (1997) Greenhouse gas emissions from farmed organic soils: a review. Soil Use Manage 13, 245250.

17. G Edwards-Jones , K Plassmann & IM Harris (2009) Carbon footprinting of lamb and beef production systems: insights from an empirical analysis of farms in Wales. J Agric Sci 147, 113.

18. A Lilly , BC Bal , IP McTaggart (2009) Spatial modelling of nitrous oxide emissions at the national scale using soil, climate and land use information. Global Change Biol 15, 23212332.

19. GR Koerber , G Edwards-Jones , PW Hill (2009) Geographical variation in carbon dioxide fluxes from soils in agro-ecosystems and its implications for life cycle assessment. J Appl Ecol 46, 306314.

21. CL Williams , M Liebman , JW Edwards (2008) Patterns of regional yield stability in association with regional environmental characteristics. Crop Sci 48, 15451559.

23. WK Anderson & WR Smith (1990) Increasing wheat yields in a high rainfall area of Western Australia. Aust J Exp Agric 30, 607614.

24. GR de Snoo (2006) Benchmarking the environmental performances of farms. Int J Life Cycle Assess 11, 2225.

28. JM Calm (2008) The next generation of refrigerants – historical review, considerations, and outlook. Int J Refrigeration 31, 11231133.

29. G Edwards-Jones , K Plassmann , EH York (2009) Vulnerability of exporting nations to the development of a carbon label in the United Kingdom. Environ Sci Policy 12, 479490.

31. A Hospido , L Milà i Canals , SJ McLaren (2009) The role of seasonality in lettuce consumption: a case study of environmental and social aspects. Int Rev Life Cycle Assess 14, 381391.

37. S Subak (1999) Global environmental costs of beef production. Ecolog Econ 30, 7991.

38 JW Casey & NM Holden (2006). Quantification of GHG emissions from suckler-beef production in Ireland. Agric Syst 90, 7998.

39. K Plassmann & G Edwards-Jones (2010) Carbon footprinting and carbon labelling of food products. In: Environmental Assessment and Management in the Food Industry, pp. 272294. [ U Sonesson , J Berlin and F Ziegler , editors]. Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing Ltd.

40. N Hounsome , B Hounsome , AD Tomos (2008). Nutritional quality of vegetables: an overview of plant compounds and analytical technologies. J Food Sci 73, R48R65.

41. S Kumar , M Imtiyaz & A Kumar (2007) Effect of differential soil moisture and nutrient regimes on postharvest attributes of onion (Allium cepa L.). Sci Horticulturae 112, 121129.

42. IL Goldman , AA Kader & C Heintz (1999) Influence of production, handling, and storage on phytonutrient content of foods. Nutr Rev 57, S46S52.

46. N Hounsome , B Hounsome , D Tomos (2009) Changes in antioxidant compounds in white cabbage during winter storage. Postharvest Biol Technol 52, 173179.

47. BN Tosun & S Yucecan (2008) Influence of commercial freezing and storage on vitamin C content of some vegetables. Int J Food Sci Technol 43, 316321.

48. S Lin & MS Brewer (2005) Effects of blanching method on the quality characteristics of frozen peas. J Food Qual 28, 350360.

49. V Rungapamestry , AJ Duncan , Z Fuller (2007) Influence of blanching and freezing broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) prior to storage and cooking on glucosinolate concentrations and myrosinase activity. Eur Food Res Technol 227, 3744.

50. EM Goncalves , RMS Cruz , M Abreu (2009) Biochemical and colour changes of watercress (Nasturtium officinale R. Br.) during freezing and frozen storage. J Food Eng 93, 3239.

51. JC Rickman , DM Barrett & CM Bruhn (2007) Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Part 1. Vitamins C and B and phenolic compounds. J Sci Food Agric 87, 930944.

52. SS Sablani (2006) Drying of fruits and vegetables: retention of nutritional/functional quality. Drying Technol 24, 123135.

53. BN Tosun & S Yucecan (2008) Influence of commercial freezing and storage on vitamin C content of some vegetables. Int J Food Sci Technol 43, 316321.

56. P Brenton , G Edwards-Jones & MF Jensen (2009) Carbon labelling and low income country exports: a review of the development issues. Dev Policy Rev 27, 243265.

57. P Cross , RT Edwards , M Opondo (2009) The health impacts to farm workers of buying local food. Environ Intl 35, 10041014.

60. L Milà i Canals , SJ Cowell , S Sim (2007). Comparing local versus imported apples: a focus on energy use. Environ Sci Pollut Res 14, 276282.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
  • ISSN: 0029-6651
  • EISSN: 1475-2719
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 322
Total number of PDF views: 941 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1774 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th July 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.