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What's in a stat?

(article, Culinate staff)

Usually when you see it, the figure is 1,500. Sometimes it's 2,000 or even 2,500, but typically it's 1,500 — miles, that is, for the supposed average distance food has to travel in the U.S. to get from farm to table. Slate recently called this figure into question, saying, "It's only sort of true — and only if you live in Chicago." So what's the problem? The number comes from a 2001 study (focused on Chicago, natch) that used outdated data — and didn't take into account all the food we buy that's say, grown in Chile or New Zealand. Hm. So maybe the average-distance figure should be more like 5,000 miles? Our reliance on imported food, in fact, is the subject of a recent AlterNet article — which points out that the emissions from all those planes, trains, and automobiles (well, trucks) are also wreaking havoc on our health.