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Sustainable Food
Food Footprint: What it means
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Our "Food Footprint" is based on the "ecological footprint". It is the part of the 'Ecological Footprint' that is due to food production. This is a measure of the environmental impacts of food production, quoted in terms of the land. Food Footprint logo

The food footprint estimates and measures:

1. Land used for food production. This is both the land used for growing vegetables, cereals, etc. for human consumption, as well as grassland & other crops used to providing animal feed. (land footprint)

3. Land needed to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions given off while burning fossil fuels. It is the area of forest ('sequestration land') that would be required to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption. (energy footprint)

3. Sea area required for fishing.

"Ecological footprints are measured in global hectares (gha) - the amount of bioproductive land and sea available on the planet. We can calculate our footprint by adding up the hectares it takes to grow our food and farm the animals we eat; the hectares our house stands on; the hectares that oil refineries and other energy infrastructure we depend on take up; the hectares of forest that would be needed to absorb the CO 2 emitted by our fuels; a share of the hectares taken up by our roads; and everything else we do that has an impact on the planet’s ecology" WWF Definition (pdf).

"Ecological  Footprint is a sustainability indicator that measures the total environmental pressure of the human population in spatial terms. It estimates the land and sea area that is needed to provide all the resources for a population in a given area, and for absorbing its emissions. The Footprint is calculated as a standardized area equivalent to a world average area, expressed in global hectares. More - Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) 2007.

Graphic from Towards a one planet region by ECOnw. More on calculating Global Hectares

Food Footprints are based on the latest available physical data from the National Food Survey (NFS) in the UK, which is matched with UK food consumption data and the final Footprints are modelled using the REAP software tool.

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© 2008 EP@W Publishing Co Ltd