For "locavores" bent on eating locally grown foods, the focus on the transportation equation is often misleading, blogger Stephen Budiansky writes. It might take 5,000 calories of energy to produce a pound of lettuce, but the transportation component actually represents relatively little, he argues. It takes about a tablespoon of diesel fuel to move 1 pound of freight 3,000 miles by rail, the rough equivalent of about 100 calories of energy. All told, transportation amounts to about 14% of the energy expended in the U.S. food system, Budiansky adds.

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