Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Food Miles Market

Can you really be bothered to go to Argentina for that steak?
  (+18, -1)(+18, -1)
(+18, -1)
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Rather than traditional aisles, the Food Miles Market is organised globally. The floor is a gigantic mosaic of the world and its countries. Foods are organised not by type, but by the continent and country of origin of either the product or its main component.

Each customer is issued with a novelty trolley shaped like an airplane, complete with a navigation aid. This aid would tell you your current location in the Food Miles Market, superimposed on a map of the world, and could be interrogated as to the location of your next purchase (e.g. you'd type in 'banana' and the navigation system would navigate you towards Brazil).

Customers would become more thoughtful about how far their food has travelled. Geography skills would improve. Obviously, it might take about 3 weeks to do a family shop...

Fishrat, Mar 22 2007

Prawns http://news.bbc.co....ireland/6189870.stm
[hippo, Mar 22 2007]

Prawns http://news.scotsma...x.cfm?id=1689082006
(A similar story, but with more detail) [hippo, Mar 22 2007]

Local vs. Organic http://www.time.com...171,1595245,00.html
Time article on local vs. organic [nick_n_uit, Mar 23 2007]

[link]






       Nice idea. Supermarkets would hate it though. At the height of the British apple season I have struggled to find any British apples in Sainsbury's (UK supermarket chain). Plenty of New Zealand apples though. It's this kind of utter stupidity (and offering Ecuadorian blackberries at - I jest not - £14/kg) which supermarkets are anxious to keep quiet about.
hippo, Mar 22 2007
  

       It's not always so simple. Apparently it's better environmentally to buy beef shipped to the UK from NZ than beef farmed in the UK, since the more enviromentally efficient farming methods here more than offset the energy/pollution of the shipping.   

       (Even better to skip the meat altogether, of course.)   

       It's a cute idea though, and a good intention, so have a locally-baked bun. [+]
imaginality, Mar 22 2007
  

       Sorry my pastry was a bit slow in appearing, but after baking it I had it flown to this lovely little patisserie in the Dordogne for glazing.
wagster, Mar 22 2007
  

       You'd have to have some clever way to distinguish between food which had been air-freighted and food which had been shipped, as shipping produces far less CO2 emissions per kg of food. So New Zealand wine is OK, but New Zealand apples aren't. Also your geographical model wouldn't properly identify Irish prawns, which are shipped to Scotland and then to Thailand where they are hand-peeled before returning to the UK (see linked news story).
hippo, Mar 22 2007
  

       + I like it, but what if ten people wanted limes from Key West at the same time?
xandram, Mar 22 2007
  

       Hippo, maybe there's a lo-tech solution. Forget the navigation devices, and replace them with a number of strings marked "New Zealand apples" or "Irish Prawns". The prawn strings, for example, could be followed from Ireland, to Scotland, then on to Thailand and back.   

       The right peole following the right strings at the right time could accidentally create an entire new strain of morris dancing.
Fishrat, Mar 22 2007
  

       So to make my choice of onions I would have to visit Georgia, Texas, California and Hawaii? (My greengrocer notes where items are from on the sign. That is is a typical list.)
Galbinus_Caeli, Mar 22 2007
  

       No - the opposite. You'd make a choice to pick the onions which were closest to you.
Fishrat, Mar 22 2007
  

       Actually I wouldn't. The Georgia onions are vidalias. Nice and sweet served raw, but quite insipid in cooked food. Same for the Hawaiian Mauis. I want the nice hot Texas onions for casseroles, stirfries and other cooked dishes.
Galbinus_Caeli, Mar 22 2007
  

       //Apparently it's better environmentally to buy beef shipped to the UK from NZ than beef farmed in the UK...//

Got a reference for that?

//(Even better to skip the meat altogether, of course.) //

Why?
angel, Mar 22 2007
  

       Meat is expensive ecologically. Someone has to grow the food for the meat animal, then the animal lives on ground that can't be used for growing more food, then only a percentage of the animal's mass is usable as food. Much cheaper just to eat what you would have fed to the animal in the first place.
Galbinus_Caeli, Mar 22 2007
  

       [G_C] But lettuce doesn't taste as nice as cow.
coprocephalous, Mar 22 2007
  

       I wasn't talking about flavor or enjoyment. Just efficiency.
Galbinus_Caeli, Mar 22 2007
  

       Utterly preposterous. [+]
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2007
  

       Cool idea. +
nomocrow, Mar 22 2007
  

       //Much cheaper just to eat what you would have fed to the animal in the first place.// As I understand it, foie gras is very efficient in terms of conversion of food calories into meat (or liver, to be precise). Could this therefore be a valid compromise between vegetarialism and meat-eating?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2007
  

       If you're concerned about food miles, farmers' markets are usually a good bet.
nick_n_uit, Mar 23 2007
  

       We have a vegetable selection delivered to our door each week, but sadly the box isn't shaped like an airplane.
Fishrat, Mar 23 2007
  

       I'd do a post on an airship-based global food delivery network, but I'm so sure it will have been done that I can't even be bothered to check.
wagster, Mar 23 2007
  

       How about hullaballoon food delivery [wag]?   

       <squeeky voice>
"Waiter... waiter! Why does this turnip taste of helium?"
</squeeky voice>
Fishrat, Mar 23 2007
  

       [Galbinus_Caeli]: "Actually I wouldn't. The Georgia onions are vidalias.... " and so on.   

       Perhaps this supermarket would make you less of a fussy eater? Onions is onions.
ooooooooo, Mar 23 2007
  

       [ooooooooooo] Them's fightin' words, mister. Or perhaps miss. Or just M.   

       Vidalia (and Granex onions grown in other areas with low soil sulfur) are quite distinct. Very little of the sharpness that is typically part of the onion flavor. Some people call them sweet. (Personally I think they are insipid.) But they are more distinctive from other yellow onions than yellows are from reds or whites.   

       You sir (or ma'am, or neuter) are no onion eater if you do not know Vidalia onions.   

       Wait. Did I just rise to a troll? Was I trolled? Are you trolling me? Harumph!
Galbinus_Caeli, Mar 23 2007
  

       Trust me, [ooooooooo] knows her/his onions, sure as eggs is eggs.
Fishrat, Mar 23 2007
  

       Did someone call?
oniony, Mar 27 2007
  
      
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