Food, Fuel, and Freeways: An Iowa perspective on how far food travels, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions

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2001-06-01
Authors
Pirog, Rich
Van Pelt, Timothy
Enshayan, Kamyar
Cook, Ellen
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Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
The Leopold Center is a research and education center on the campus of Iowa State University created to identify and reduce negative environmental and social impacts of farming and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources.
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Most consumers do not understand today’s highly complex global food system. Much of the food production and processing occurs far away from where they live and buy groceries. External environmental and community costs related to the production, processing, storage, and transportation of the food are seldom accounted for in the food’s price, nor are consumers made aware of these external costs. Examples of external environmental costs are the increased amount of fossil fuel used to transport food long distances, and the increase in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the burning of these fuels.

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