Ethical Eats

Brought to you by Oxfam @ Queen's

Christmas Food Miles

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On the 12th Day of Ethical Xmas, members of Oxfam @ Queen’s added up the food miles for their Christmas dinners to see how they stacked up.

Andrea, 100 Mile House, B.C.

Here’s how many kilometers it takes for three key Christmas dinner dishes to travel to the table!

TURKEY: I live about 6 hours from Abbotsford (near Vancouver), where a lot of poultry is raised, so that was my best guess for the turkey we bought from the grocery store. However, it turns out that this turkey was shipped across the country, from “Amherstburg, Ontario”! That sure doesn’t make sense! 3864 km (

MASHED POTATOES: The potatoes in our mashed potatoes come from our garden! That’s 0 km.

PUMPKIN PIE: The pumpkin purée my Mom uses in the pie is from one our family friends brought us from their home in Kamloops, BC – it’s almost desert-like there so pumpkins thrive. 196 km

TOTAL:  4060 km.

The turkey really makes this total a sobering one, but it was really informative and took surprisingly little effort to find out where my Christmas dinner comes from. Becoming conscious of how your food gets to you is really the first step in making a change, and I am looking forward to attempting a ‘100 km Christmas dinner‘ next year.

Hannah, Starbuck, Manitoba


Meat: 13.14 miles (Sanford, MB)

Noodles (Catelli brand): 1416.13 miles (Allentown, PA)

Cheese (Kraft): 1208.5 miles (Ottawa)

Canned Tomatoes (Alymer):  629.30 miles (Omaha, NE)

TOTAL: 3 267.07 miles (5 227.31 km)

Caesar Salad:

Lettuce: 1 710.95 miles (Salinas, California)

Dressing (Kraft): 1208.5 miles (Ottawa)

Croutons: 1429.62 miles (Parsippany, NJ)

Parmesan: (865.14 miles) (Don Mills, Ontario)

TOTAL: 5 214.21 miles (8 342.74 km)

Apple Pie:

Flour: 14.28 miles (Elie, MB)

Butter (Saputo): 1327.39 miles (St-Laurent, Québec)

Apples : 1664 miles (Washington US)

TOTAL: 3 005.67 miles (4 809.07 km)

GRAND TOTAL: 11 486.95 miles (18 379.12 km)

Yikes, mine was huge! I was happy that the flour and meat were sourced locally, but my family could have cut down on our mileage by using local butter and cheese, and serving in-season vegetables instead of salad. Something to keep in mind for next year!

Nina, St. Catherines/New Hamburg, ON

German Red Cabbage (New Hamburg):

 Cabbage: 0.8 miles

Vinegar: 5 miles

Apples: 0.5 miles

Onions: 1 mile

Total: 7.3 miles (11.68 km)

Vegetarian Lasagna (New Hamburg):

Noodles: 4000 miles (Italy)

Tomato Sauce: 1 mile

Mozzarella Cheese: 0.5 miles

Zucchini: 0.5 miles

Red Peppers: 0.5 miles

Onions 1 mile

Broccoli: 0.5 miles

Total: 4004 miles (6 406.4 km)

Portobello Mushroom Soup (St. Catherines):

Mushrooms: 15 miles

Onions: 1 mile

Veg Stock: 30 miles

Celery: 1 mile

Potatoes: 1 mile

Garlic: 1 mile

Thyme: 0 miles (5 meters)

Total: 49 miles (78.9 km)

Grand Total: 4 060.3 miles (6 496.98 km)

Kathryn, Halifax, N.S.

Food Miles – Kathryn Blaikie- Dec.23rd

My East Coast Christmas dinner gets calculated! How many miles did these goods have to travel before they were in our Haligonian home? Let’s find out!

Main Dish: Chicken Roast

Chicken: 513.4 miles (Quebec)

Parsnips: 79.67 miles (Berwick, Nova Scotia)

Onions: 50.55 miles (Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia)

Carrots: 160.4 miles (PEI)

Potatoes: 145.76 miles (PEI)

TOTAL:  949.78 miles (1 519.65 km)

Side Dish: Asparagus

Asparagus: 4682.55 miles (Peru)

Parmesan cheese: 865.14 miles (Don Mills, Ontario)

TOTAL: 5 547.69 miles (8 876.3 km)

**That’s a lot for a side dish! Our main dish kept it Canadian but this is another story.

Dessert: Fudge

Jet-puffed Marshmallows: 1355.60 Miles (Indiana, US)

Butterscotch chips: 841.2 miles (Smith Falls, Ontario)

TOTAL: 2 196.8 miles (3 514.88 km)

GRAND TOTAL :  10 888.07 miles (17 420.9 km)



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