I know there has been some recent traffic on the subject of energy
useage in the food system. I'm afraid I have missed quite a bit of it,
so my inquiry might be a bit elementary if not redundant (many
apologies in advance).
I would like to know if any evidence exists suggesting that a more
locally integrated food system is less energy intensive (net) than a
globally integrated food system. In other words, is it true that, in
general, the more locally we eat, the more we are saving energy? If so,
in what ways? I am particularly interested in the contribution farmers'
markets make to reducing the usage of fossil fuels in the food system
(e.g., a study of a sample of farmers' markets in New York State half
the grower-vendors reported they were organic (certified as well as
non-certified). If indeed, organic growers use less fossil fuels, then,
by inference, one might conclude that farmers' markets contribute to
greater energy efficiency and security. However, we must also factor in
the transportation modes of consumers...and perhaps other factors...I
am finding this is a complex subject.
What energetic studies of the food system have been conducted which
might inform this issue? Production, transportation, CO2, and other
environmental concerns are also of interest. Any thoughts, suggestions,