Testing the assertion that 'local food is best': the challenges of an evidence-based approach

Gareth Edwards-Jones, Llorenç Milà i Canals, Natalia Hounsome, Monica Truninger, Georgia Koerber, Barry Hounsome, Paul Cross, Elizabeth H. York, Almudena Hospido, Katharina Plassmann, Ian M. Harris, Rhiannon Edwards, Graham A.S. Day, A. Deri Tomos, Sarah J. Cowell, Davey L. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advocates of ‘local food’ claim it serves to reduce food miles and greenhouse gas emissions, improve food safety and quality, strengthen local economies and enhance social capital. We critically review the philosophical and scientific rationale for this assertion, and consider whether conventional scientific approaches can help resolve the debate. We conclude that food miles are a poor indicator of the environmental and ethical impacts of food production. Only through combining spatially explicit life cycle assessment with analysis of social issues can the benefits of local food be assessed. This type of analysis is currently lacking for nearly all food chains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-274
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Issue number5
Early online date25 Jan 2008
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


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