Thursday, March 05, 2015

Mapping Australia's Imported Food

I know very little about international trade, so I'm not sure why the Where Does Australia Import its Food? map upsets me so much. This map is a fascinating insight into where Australia imports food from around the world.

To be fair a lot of Australia's food is imported from nearby New Zealand. For example most of Australian livestock imports come from New Zealand. However the next four top exporters of livestock to Australia are from distant European countries.

This Esri map of Australian food import shows where different types of food (bought in Australia) originate based on data from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The map provides a number of map views based on different food groups. The only food group which is sourced (relatively) locally appears to be processed seafood. The rest of Australia's food appears to be sourced from as far away as possible.

The map doesn't show how much Australia relies on imported food. Therefore it is impossible to tell from this map how much these food imports contribute to Australia's total food consumption. I also suspect that the situation isn't very different in most first world countries.

But never mind, we can all pretend we are saving the planet by buying some seakale beets from our local farmer's market this weekend.

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