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Eating Oil

Woodward, Lawrence and Jones, Andy (2002) Eating Oil. EFRC Pamphlet Series. Elm Farm Research Centre, Policy Research Department.

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Summary

The food system is now even more based on cheap crude oil. Every time we eat, we are all essentially ‘eating oil’. Virtually all of the processes in the modern food system are now dependent upon this finite resource which is nearing its depletion phase.
Moreover, at a time when we should be making massive cuts in the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in order to reduce the threat posed by climate change, the food system is lengthening its supply chains and increasing emissions to the point where it is a significant contributor to global warming.
The organic sector should be leading the development of a sustainable food system. Direct environmental and ecological impacts of agriculture ‘on the farm’ are certainly reduced in organic systems. However, global trade and distribution of organic products fritter away those benefits and undermine its leadership role. Not only is the contemporary food system inherently unsustainable, increasingly it is damaging the environment. A different approach - focussed on localization not globalisation - needs to be developed in order to ensure “food supply in a changing climate”.


EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:Energy crisis; finite resource use; oil; energy; sustainable food systems; climate change; local food systems; globalisation; food miles; organic food systems; organic food and farming; global warming
Subjects: Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Food systems > Processing, packaging and transportation
Food systems > Recycling, balancing and resource management
Research affiliation: UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm
Deposited By: Woodward, Lawrence
ID Code:4138
Deposited On:03 Jan 2005
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:30
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed
Additional Publishing Information:This paper, edited by Lawrence Woodward, is a summary version of the report “Eating Oil: Food Supply in a Changing Climate” produced by Sustain and Elm Farm Research Centre.
The original report was written by Dr Andy Jones.

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