The majority of the energy that goes into the US food system is by far energy spent after the food has been grown. About 80% of the energy in US food production goes into processing, packaging, transporting, storing, and preparing the food. There are ways to cut down on the processing and packaging some, but the place where huge amounts of energy can be saved in on the transportation. Food in the US travels an average of 1300-2000 miles from the farm to the consumer. There has also been increasing use of truck transportation instead of more energy efficient rail or water, since the 1970s. Huge amounts of fossil fuel and human energy could be saved if the farm model in the US was shifted back to small local farms and away from the huge farm coops of the later 20th century. Read further in the “Checking the Food Odometer” article that is linked on this site.
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