We live in a world where geographic boundaries cease to exist when it comes to goods, services, and even food. We think nothing of having freshly squeezed orange juice or kiwis for breakfast, even if we live in New York City with 10-inches of snow on the ground in the middle of January. We live in an age where everything and anything is available for consumption year-round at your local grocery store. However, this convenience also comes with potentially major ecological and economic impacts (both positive and negative). For example, the coffee you drink may come from beans imported from Columbia, the sugar you use may come from India, or the steaks you sear on the grill may have come from Argentina. How much fuel was spent transporting these products across the ocean? Were any pesticides used? If so, was it done in a sustainable fashion? Were forests cleared to make room for grazing herds or larger agricultural fields? These are just a few of the many questions we should be asking ourselves when we make our selections at the grocery store
Explore the following resources to learn more about the foods we rely on and the variety of ways in which we can acquire them.
The People’s Garden by the United States Department of Agriculture
For this assignment, analyze the meal provided by your instructor. Include the following analysis within your discussion:
If you were to purchase each item at a local chain grocery store, where would these items be sourced from. For example, where were the fruits, vegetables, and/or meats grown immediately prior to sale (do not discuss the history or origin of the item i.e., “corn or maize originated in Mexico around 2500 BC…). Discuss the events that allowed your local grocery store to carry these items:
What farming methods were likely used to grow these items and how do these methods impact the environment around the farms as well as the employees who work within these establishments?
Were the items grown and shipped in from another country?
What types of processing and packaging must take place in order for you to be able to purchase the product? If you were to follow the suggestions shared within the articles provided above, where could you purchase the items (provide specific sources within your local community)? If a food item is not available locally, is there an alternative that you could use as a substitute?
Discuss the ecological and economic advantages and disadvantages of purchasing food items that are locally sourced versus those shipped from other areas of the country and from around the world. Use your textbook reading for this unit in order to explore the environmental impacts, and use these to further analyze the impacts our food purchases may have on the environment.
The food choices we make have the potential to generate both local and global impacts. This can be summarized in the phrase “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Based upon your analysis of the meal provided by your instructor for this assignment, discuss how the choices you make when planning and buying meals might change in the future and how your choices, when combined with those of others, can have a global impact
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