Why I’m happy to eat imported food


Working in international development has given me a keen insight into “food security”, or what it means to have adequate access to food, and the reasons why so many in our world don’t have this access.

Our international food systems are screwed. And farm subsidies are evil. 

I also understand that whilst capitalism is the world’s dominant economic system, creating access to markets for everyone is an important part of alleviating poverty and improving access to food.

This is why when I see Ethiopian roses, or Italian tomatoes, or Kenyan pineapple, I’m very happy to pop them in my shopping trolley. It isn’t always more “carbon efficient” and thus better for the environment to eat locally either. Food miles only tell a tiny bit of the story, and what goes in to food production must be added into any environmental costs.

It appears the experts back me up on this too:

"…it would actually be four times more energy efficient for Brits to eat lamb from New Zealand than from Britain. The difference is largely due to what is fed to the sheep. “New Zealand cattle eat clover from the fields while British livestock tend to rely on feed — which itself is often imported,” says Charles Kenny of the Center for Global Development in The dilemma of eating locally and harming globally.