When we speak of ‘food miles’ in permaculture, we speak of the amount of miles, or overall distance travelled, for food to reach your kitchen.
Sadly a single piece of produce can easily (and often does) travel thousands of miles (or kilometers) from where it’s grown, where it’s processed, where it’s stored, where it’s sold and where it’s consumed. And this is just for food we consider to be ‘local’ to our climate and regions where there is no need for import/export. Take a moment and consider what inputs, time, resources, fuel and energy is required to make this happen.
All that equates to pollution to our environment from burned fuel, man labour hours from along each stop of the food’s journey, food is less and less fresh as time increases (often times picked pre-ripe, so it is ‘ripe – which actually means decaying, therefore molecularly and nutritionally different to ripe- once you receive it at the shop), harsh manufactured preservatives are required to keep the food ‘fresh’, unnecessary resources and energy are used, and all equates to cash out of your pockets for all these ‘miles’.
Now consider how many food miles your apples, berries, broccoli and onions, etc. must travel if you had an edible food garden outside your door?