Food Miles Case Study

I started this case study in January of 2013 to research the environmental implications of food transportation. I became interested in this field partly due to my father's ongoing environmental work and my aunt's and uncle's role in organic food sourcing. This study educates myself about the current local food production system so I am able to apply this knowledge towards proposing alternative methods to the current issues. I originally started with five cases. But as I researched more on what food miles are and agriculture in Hawaii, I decided to expand my project to include six cases: chain coffee shop, local coffee shop, chain burger joint, local burger joint, school cafeteria, and local restaurant. I have chosen these particular six establishments not only to show the variety of the style of cuisine and range of type of transportation used, but show the range of sourcing within a genre of food establishments.

The term "food miles" refers to how far food has traveled before you purchase or consume it, typically referred to "farm to plate". The method of how food is grown, stored, transported, prepared, and processed directly impacts your personal health and the health of the environment.The U.S government defines food security as, “the ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods and the ability to acquire them in socially acceptable ways”. Food security is dependent on both social and environmental factors such as how food travels. In Hawaii, food security becomes more dire due its isolation. The state of Hawaii currently imports 92% of food. If these imports suddenly stopped, Hawaii's food insecurity would increase dramatically due to an insufficient amount of local food grown to sustain the state. This study is primarily focused on transportation-related environmental impacts of food on the island of Hawaii.

Project completed in May of 2013.


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