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Food Miles Program

Reduce Food Miles...Increase Food Smiles - Make your local farmers & the environment happy!

How far does your food travel? 

Did you know that on average, most food in the U.S. travels 1,500 miles before it gets to your plate?

What are "Food Miles"? 

Food Miles are the distance your food travels from its origin at the farm to the store where you purchase it. These emissions can be very costly, not just to your pocket book, but to the environment. Food miles are actually among the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gases worldwide. 

Why it matters

  • When food is shipped, it creates greenhouse gases, so the less your food has to travel, the better it is for our air quality.
  • When you purchase local goods you are preserving agricultural landscapes. Loss of farmland to development is less likely when farms are profitable.
  • Almost 250,000 tons of global warming gases released were attributable to imports of food products. This is equivalent to the amount of pollution produced by more than 40,000 vehicles on the road or nearly two power plants, all of which cause unhealthy air quality.
  • More than 3 million tons of fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, and wine are imported annually from overseas into California by ship, airplane, and truck. This is produce that could be bought from local farmers.
  • Supporting local farmers keeps dollars circulating within our community, which translates to jobs!

Ways you can help!

  • Buy produce that is locally grown and in season. See below for the SLO County APCD's seasonal food chart. 
  • Support local Farmers' Markets. See below for the list of the Farmers' Markets in your area below.

Certified Farmers' Markets

Local farmers' markets allow producers to sell their certified commodities directly to the public, and therefore reducing the amount of shipping miles on products. The following 20 farmers' markets have been certified by the Agricultural Commissioner to market local and regional produce in San Luis Obispo County. Check out the one in your area! 

Did You Know? 

According to the SLO County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures, despite persistent drought and variable weather conditions, the value of agricultural commodities produced in San Luis Obispo County during 2013 reached a record high of $960,710,000. This 11% increase over 2012 is the fourth consectutive year in which total commodity values entered record territory demonstrating the perseverance and diversified production of our local agriculturalists.  Here is how the top twenty value crops compare to the whole: 


Wine Grapes (all): 23%
Strawberries: 23%
Cattle & Calves: 10%
Broccoli: 7%
Avocados: 5%
Vegetable Transplants: 3%
Cut Flowers: 3%
Indoor Decoratives: 2%
Outdoor Ornamental: 1%
Napa Cabbage: 1%
Rangeland Grazed: 1%
Lemons: 1%
Celery: 1%
Cauliflower: 1%
Leaf Lettuce: 1%
Cabbage: 1%
Bell Peppers: 0.5%
Alfalfa Hay: 0.5%
Bok Choy: 0.5%
All other crops: 14%

Additional Links

SLO County Seasonally Grown Food Chart
Central Coast Grown
Recipes with locally grown & in-season foods - Card 1 & Card 2

Contact us for more information on this topic.