QUESTION: Average American meal question

question / pregunta: 

"It is estimated that the average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get from farm to plate." With the recent spate of books, films, web sites related to food activism, this phrase seems like it's commonly repeated, but where does it come from? I found it on the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture web site (, was mentioned in the film "Food, Inc." and Barbara Kingsolver's book "Animal Vegetable Miracle" but none of these sources provide further information. I'm presently taking a year away from graduate school to start a farm project with a few friends of mine, and i am writing a formal journal about the experience. A few of these entries will be specifically related to energy consumption, so it's important to me that i understand how the aforementioned statistics are figured...

Thanks so much...

Sustainable agriculture in Egypt/the Middle East


As a start here is a link to the pdf version of an article about virtual water policies and struggles in Egypt and India. There is an extensive list of references at the end of the paper.

Roth, Dik, and Jeroen Warner. "Virtual Water: Virtuous impact? The unsteady state of virtual water." Agriculture and Human Values 25 (2008): 257-70. SpringerLink. 3 Oct. 2007. Springer. 20 Feb. 2009 .

Some notable references:

Hakimian, H. (2003). “Water scarcity and food imports: An empirical investigation of the ‹Virtual Water’ hypothesis in the MENA region.” Occasional Paper No. 46. London, UK: School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS), Water Issues Study Group, University of London. Retrieved from on November 3, 2006

Wichelns D. (2001). The role of ‹virtual water’ in efforts to achieve food security and other national goals, with an example from Egypt. Agricultural Water Management 49: 131–151

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