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Where does food come from?


Food may take a short or a long journey, before arriving on our plate. The voyage our food takes is called the "supply chain".

Most food is not consumed in the country where it has been produced. In 2008, for example, imports of rice, wheat and vegetable oils increased worldwide. Consequently, developing countries have increased the production of wheat, rice, soybeans, palm oil, not for domestic consumption but to sell them to developed countries!

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Food that travels a few km...

Food is produced, processed, distributed and consumed locally (short chain). In this way the gain will remain in the country that produced it. 


Food travels few km V2



Food that travels a lot...

Food is processed, distributed and consumed in different places, distant from the one in which it was produced (long chain). A longer travel means higher revenues of those who control the chain. Often those involved are few and always the same: the multinationals. 


Food travel a lot V2


Could you live only with food which travelled a maximum of 100km? 

  • Try to consume for one week only food produced, processed, distributed within 100km from your home. 
  • Organise a blog in order to disseminate sustainable recipes. 

A local cheese factory






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 1) Discover how far your favourite food travels

  • Choose your favourite food and make a list of all the ingredients.
  • Analyse the labels that you usually buy and discover the origin of ingredients.
  • In case it is not specified, research on the internet in order to understand where they come from.
  • Take a map of the planet and draw the path of the ingredients that the students of your class love.


How far does the food travel?

Which ingredients travel the furthest?

Discover, in general, what is the impact of your lifestyle: calculate your Ecological Footprint

Why does food travel so far? Read the document ""Causes and Effects"" from the resources section.

Which are the effects of long supply chain?

Discover in which way the transport of food that we consume impact on the territory in which it is produced and reflect about Landgrabbing.


Read about the palm oil industry and discover its effects on natural resources in different areas of the planet (video below).


2) Take action:

For one week try to eat only food produced within 100km from your home.

  • Are there foods that you can't find?
  • Could you go on with this diet for more than one week?


Discover how you can find sustainable food:


Furthermore, if you have the opportunity:

  • In order to produce vegetables for your consumption, organize a food garden in your school (if local rules allow it) or contact associations who organize food garden in your community.
  • For those products that are not available on your continent, discover the Fair Trade experience. Fair Trade is an organized social movement that aims to help producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. Discover if there is a Fair Trade Shop in your town or if local markets sell Fair Trade products. Follow the example of many students who required Fair Trade products in the school vending machine.


Organise a blog and involve other people in collecting sustainable recipes in order to promote food of your territory.




Personal footprint calculator
About Palm oil - Greenpeace
"Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale" - G.A.S. (Italian solidarity based purchasing groups)
Fairtrade International
Family Farming - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations



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 "Causes and Effects"
"Land Grab Or Development Opportunity? Agricultural investment and international land deals in Africa" - Fao
"Let's Expose Land Grabbing" - Slow Food


Learning Outcomes

  • Know how far food travels
  • Know what the impact of your lifestyle is
  • Know the impact of food's travel on the territory in which it is produced
  • Organize a diet only with food produced within 100 km
  • Involve other people in collecting sustainable recipes in order to promote food of the territory

Skills acquired

Competences acquired

Knowledge acquired

  • He/she is aware of the importance of the label on food packaging in order to have information about the product and its production process
  • He/she is aware of local activism good experiences
  • He/she is aware of the impact of daily consumption on little farmers and environment



  • He/she can discuss the causes of a long food supply chain
  • He/she can discuss the effects of a long food supply chain
  • He/she can discuss the role of multinationals
  • He/she can experiment practices of critical consumption
  • He/she can activate contacts with local farmers
  • He/she can experiment active citizenship, engaging in activities aimed at promoting local food
  • He/she's able to collaborate with other fellow students



  • He/she knows the concept of supply chain of food
  • He/she knows the concept of km0 food
  • He/she knows the reasons and the impact of a long food supply chain
  • He/she knows the concept of Ecological Footprint