Food Miles


Ever since we became farmers we have had to store some of the harvest to last us the rest of the year. Thanks to modern technology we have come to expect to eat any fruit and vegetable at any time of the year – modern transport now makes it very easy to transport food around the world quick enough to ensure it is fresh.

We have coined a new phrase for this ‘food miles‘ a quick internet search lists lots of website to refer too – to many to list here.

A recent TV program by Jimmy Doherty showing Potatoes being grown in the Egyptian desert and then being imported into the UK serves to me to highlight how the food super-highway has got out of control.

If you would like to watch the program – here’s the video:

Jimmy Doherty’s Potaotes in the Desert


At primary level it is probably not necessary to watch this with your pupils – it’s more for your own background knowledge. However at secondary school especially for the new GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition – Food Provenance section it could form a great starting point / discussion based around sustainability and seasonality.

The message I think your pupils need to take from this is that man must store and preserve food from harvest so we can enjoy it for a longer period. We can also import and enjoy food which we cannot grow in the UK such as Bananas. But they need to understand the consequences of recent trends and tastes of expecting to eat fruit and veg year round regardless of seasons and also utilise what we can grow in this country. Potatoes can be stored for over 6 months in store so do we really need to import them from Egypt.