Is it possible that airfreight flowers/fruit/vegetables might be more eco-friendly than those grown nearer home under greenhouses?
The most enduring image I have of the dilemma for the thinking liberal greenie (of which I have to say I am one) was of recently shopping in the magnificently over-the-top Whole Foods Market in Kensington. I came out of the shop, having witnessed an organic couple loading up their trolley. A few minutes later they drove past me in a Jeep Cherokee. I wondered if they were bothered by the fact they were driving an imported vehicle, or the fact that it probably burnt more fuel per kg getting their mixed salad home than it does to fly in Ghanaian sugarloaf pineapples at the height of their ripeness. I have a feeling they weren't. (Alastair Plumb in Food miles: Does distance matter? , or a New Zealander's perspective, The Independent, 19th September 2007)
But is that the right question?
How do you choose? Tell us here.
16th October 2007: Is sea freight always better than air freight?
Since the 1970s, the bulk of commercial vessels have run on heavy "bunker" fuel, a by-product of the oil refining process for higher grade fuels. One industry insider described it as "the crap that comes out the other end that's half way to being asphalt". It has potentially lethal side effects such as the release of sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulphuric acid. (Source: Shipping pollution 'far more damaging than flying' , The Independent, 16th October 2007)
Food for thought?
24th October 2007: Should airfreight fruit remain 'organic'?
Just 1 per cent of all organic food - in weight terms - is flown into the UK, mostly pre-cut fruit and vegetables popular in the lunchtime snack section of supermarket aisles.
These imports equate to £42 million, but the Soil Association warns that air freight is growing rapidly and could "obliterate" all the cuts made within the UK by households cutting down on carbon emissions.
(Source: Organic air-freight food to be stripped of status, The Telegraph, 24th October 2007)
Even more (less?) food for thought then?