MONTREAL — A University of Toronto professor says that buying local produce shouldn’t soothe an environmentalist’s worries.
According to a Montreal Economic Institute study, food that travels a scant few kilometres from where it was produced isn’t reducing greenhouse gas emissions since fuel saved in transport is cancelled out by the gases created in production.
“There are perfectly legitimate reasons for consumers to make the personal choice of buying locally grown food if, for example, they find products from local farms to be superior in quality and freshness,” said Professor Pierre Desrochers in a press release. “On the other hand, the supposed environmental benefits of buying locally just aren’t there.”
A recent American study showed that production is responsible for 83 per cent of emissions; transportation accounts for 11 per cent.
The study also examines the environmental impact of a shopper’s journey from the grocery store to home. When food is transported in small quantities by hundreds of people, the cars create more greenhouse gases than those produced by ships or planes that move produce in bulk.