Topic 3.1: Defining local food

Local food typically refers to food that is produced, processed, and consumed within a relatively small geographical area, often a specific region or community. The concept of local food emphasises the importance of sourcing food from nearby producers, rather than relying on distant sources. While there is no strict definition of what constitutes “local“, it generally implies a shorter distance between production and consumption compared to conventional supply chains.

Local food can include a wide range of products, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, grains, and artisanal goods. It encompasses both fresh and processed foods, as well as traditional dishes and recipes that are unique to a particular area.

Overall, local food represents a commitment to a more sustainable, transparent, and community-oriented food system, offering benefits in terms of freshness, quality, and environmental impact.

Concepts of local food systems:

Local food is produced and consumed within a short geographical distance. Producers, processors, and consumers are often situated in a closer social structure than in the typical system of large supermarkets and aim to develop a more self-reliant food system.

Food miles refer to the distance food travels from the place of its production to the place of its consumption. This concept is used to measure the environmental impact of transporting food, particularly the carbon emissions and energy consumption associated with long-distance transportation. The term “food miles“ highlights the importance of considering the journey food takes to reach our plates, emphasising the broader environmental and sustainability implications.

Km0 food, or zero km food, describes food that is produced, processed, and consumed locally, meaning it has traveled less than 100km. It mainly refers to non-industrial food like fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat, etc. sold on farmers markets or similar. Due to the lack of transportation, this food concept is considered to have a minimal carbon footprint.