The tourism sector's demand for food, and the distance some food travels, has significant impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and implications for climate change, especially in long haul small island state destinations. This paper describes the development of the concept of food miles, and the many measurement issues involved. It analyses a small island ecotourism project in Fiji where the source, and transport mode, of all food consumed over 35 months was recorded in detail, during which time conscious efforts were made to minimise imported foods and increase island-grown food. In 2008, the share of imported "non-Fiji" food was 18%, by 2010 it was reduced to 5%. On-site production had risen from zero to 15%. Off-island, but Fijian, food accounted for the balance. Food miles were reduced by over 50%; carbon emissions from food transport fell by over 20%. Some problems were encountered by the largely young (average age 27 years), largely UK/US visitors who were unused to "low carbon" diets with reduced meat levels. Ideas are put forward to overcome that challenge, including new/fashionable cooking techniques, and interpreting local food and farming to visitors. Management issues involved in larger scale ventures are outlined.
- food miles
- food production
- local food
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management