The term “food miles” refers to the distance food travels from the location where it is grown to the location where it is consumed, or in other words, the distance food travels from farm to plate.

Recent studies have shown that this distance has been steadily increasing over the last 50 years, according to ATTRA, a program developed and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, Butte, Mont. Studies estimate that processed food in the United States travels over 1,300 miles, and fresh produce travels over 1,500 miles, before being consumed.

This study addresses how food miles are calculated, investigates how food miles affect producers and consumers and evaluates methods for curbing the energy intensiveness of today’s food transportation system.