The Distance Food Must Travel

In my Literature of the Environment course we discuss issues similar to those that we talk about in Food and Sustainability. One reoccurring issue that we discuss is the distance food travels to our plates, a factor that has influenced the growing popularity of “eating local.” Often times food must travel large distances in order to reach us, and the pollutants produced by this transportation have negative impacts on the environment.

All of this makes me think of my time at the Island School, a semester program that I attended my junior year of high school that I have written about for my last two blog posts. It had a very positive effect on me, and I learned quite a bit about myself and about how to live sustainably. While for much of my time their I assumed that the school was perfect and issue free, it took me about two months to start realizing some major issues the institution has to deal with. One large issue that the school faces is the fact that its on an island that produces little food of its own. In order to feed the 200 plus people that live on the school’s campus, all of the food that they eat must be shipped in from around the world by boat. While they were beginning to look up solutions to this problem while I was at school, it seemed impossible that they would fix it. Unfortunately, it seems that they have failed to find a solution to their problem as their demand for food far exceeds that what can be produced locally.

It was a very eye opening experience to learn that this place that I had perceived to be the epitome sustainability actually had some pretty large problems to deal with. For all the good that they do, the Island School actually has some pretty negative environmental effects that they have to work out. They are looking into solutions, but it has proved to be a trying task. All of it made me realize how complicated living in a sustainable can be on a larger scale.


The Island School's campus

The Island School’s campus on Eleuthera Island