Archive for the ‘Local Food Culture’ Category

Think Local, Think Food

Welcome to our post in which we will discuss the topics of the food movement in the United States. You will be exposed to different viewpoints in the area of local food in the form of written papers by La Sierra University students.

McDonalds and Animal Rights

By: Megan Clark

For decades, Animal rights activists pressed for McDonalds to change their cruel ways and practice more ‘humane’ ways to kill. Many farmers and leaders shot these activists down or didn’t address the subject. Finally, in the early 2000s, McDonalds paved the road for pushing animal farms to take better care of their animals. McDonalds’ animal welfare policies were set up to protect the rights of cattle to make their lives more at ease. Not only did McDonalds make the living conditions for cattle more livable, they also cracked down on egg suppliers. McDonalds gave the farmers 18 months to comply with the new procedures. Although these new practices and such were going to cost more money, McDonalds saw its necessity and supported the welfare of the animals. It may seem like a lot has taken place since the early 2000s but in actuality, these requirements were rather small. Since 2002, no other action in reference to animal welfare has taken place. Chickens and cattle are still being abused before their death. McDonalds says that they are looking into a more humane method of execution called Controlled Atmosphere Killing-killing by replacing oxygen with gas.

Does it all make a difference? Actually, it all does but much more has to be done to promote the animal’s wellbeing. A happier animal is found to have more nutrition and fewer diseases.

Although I believe McDonalds has done right by taking a stand against the abuse of animals for consumption, I do not believe that what they have done is enough. People will shed light on some areas and not the others because, by doing so, it will decrease the profits of the company. If animals were not given steroids, it would take a longer time for them to reach consumption age with not as much meat. But what is the price- A lifetime of pain and misery for the animal? We are not just paying for the happiness of an animal, we are paying for the vitamins that the animal naturally has. If a fast food place such as McDonalds, the number one buyer of beef, simply got its animals from free roam farms, what a difference that would make on society.

Works Cited
Lin, Doris. “McDonald’s and Animal Rights – Background on McDonald’s and Animal Rights.” Animal Rights – Articles and Blog About Animal Rights. Web. 04 May 2010. .
“McDonalds Slammed for Cruelty: News24: World: News.” News24, South Africa’s Premier News Source, Provides Breaking News on National, World, Africa, Sport, Entertainment, Technology & More. Web. 04 May 2010. .
“What’s Wrong with McDonald’s?” M C S P O T L I G H T. Web. 04 May 2010. .

Is Faster Really Better? By: Brandon Pardosi

Americans have always wanted to pay less for more.  Because of this, Americans health is deteriorating, and we are blaming the food, when the only ones to blame are ourselves. America’s new food culture is at its all time worst.

The Fast food culture has tainted America’s food culture.  It’s not only expanding our dependency on fast food, but our waistlines as well. , Americans spent around $6 billion dollars, which was then, now Americans spend over $110 billion dollars (Americans). Americans now spend more on fast food than anything else! Including education, computers, cars, movies, music, books combined! (Press)

When Americans spend their money on fast food, they spend it on food that looks good. . But foods that look good might differ between fast food lovers and organic food lovers. To organic food lovers, fast food is not even considered food. To fast food lovers, organic food doesn’t look good. . This is a new food ethic, which is emerging quickly, 20 percent per year. This new food ethic will hopefully give Americans the desire to build relationships with our fellow farmers, and through the farmers, the earth.

We need to go back to healthy home cooked meals and stop relying on fast food meals. This terrible food culture is taking a toll on our lives in the long run. Our dependency on fast food will only lead to obesity. 30 percent of children today eat fast food, every single day of the year. 50 percent of children now are obese, you wonder why? (Statistics) We must come back to the food culture of home cooked meals and start eating organic, natural foods and let our local farmer markets be our dependency.

Works Cited

“Americans Are Obsessed with Fast Food: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal – CBS News.” Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News – CBS News. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/31/health/main326858.shtml&gt;.

“Press Articles – Rolling Stone 1.” M C S P O T L I G H T. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. <http://www.mcspotlight.org/media/press/rollingstone1.html&gt;.

Publishers Get 25 Free Article Reprints. 3 Sept. 2009. Web. 27 May 2010.

<http://ezinearticles.com/?Statistics-on-Obesity-in-Children—3-Very-Shocking-and-Surprising-Statistics!&id=2868944&gt;.

“Statistics on Obesity in Children – 3 Very Shocking and Surprising Statistics!” EzineArticles

Submission – Submit Your Best Quality Original Articles For Massive Exposure, Ezine


Slow Food V. Fast Food

By: Raul Gonzalez

In a fast pace world like this there is a demand for everything to get faster, even our food. I have constantly seen drivers with one hand on the steering wheel and in the other a burger from a fast food restaurant. The drive-thru has become a great invention, which is why restaurants like In-n Out usually only have a drive-thru. Restaurants of this type realize every American has a busy schedule in which they have no time to stop and eat. However is this good for us? Is fast food really better for our health, it may be a solution for our busy schedules but the benefits fast food give us are not the best, we should switch to slow food in order to help our environment, our well being and local economies.

When buying local food you do not only help out local farmers but you help the environment. Average distance food travels are about 1500 to 2500 miles from industrial farms to your dinner table (Bogner). However people argue that the fuel cost is more for a farmer to travel food in his old pickup truck to the market than for an industrial company to transport larger quantities of food (Martin). A team from UC Davis researched and found it to be more harmful for local farmers to grow food, since some of them are not fully educated on how to properly grow crops. A reason we should take into consideration however is that this research might be slightly influenced by the founders. The research also fails to recognize the group of farmers that do properly grow crops and are being eco friendly when transporting them.

Local and slow foods are also making sustainable communities. According to the article found in the ecosmagazine about local food for sustainable communities agriculture is responsible for 20 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions globally, this information was taken by the magazine from the website http://www.climateandfarming.org/pdfs/Facsheets/IV.1GHGs.pdf. In this article Sullivan also states we should not look at cities as a consumption space but as a productive area. In my opinion I prefer having a traditional farm in my city than smog coming out of the industrial farm producing cheap and low quality food leaving my city and then coming back after it made a trip almost around the country (Sullivan).

In retrospect switching from fast food to local food is essential to the environment, health and support for local economies. Eating slow food will takes us back to enjoy food as it should be, a time for a family gathering instead of seeing it as necessity that needs to met and do not care how. The slow food movement is something to be considered in order to live a better life in our environment and erase the carbon footprints industrialist are leaving.

Works Cited

Sullivan, Rachel. “LOCAL FOOD FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES.” Ecos 152 (2009):

18-21. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 18 May 2010.

Bogner, Jane. “How far does your food travel before you eat

it?.” valcorecycling (2004): n. pag. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.valcorerecycling.org/affair/archives/2004-10-31.htm&gt;.

Martin, Andrew. “If its fresh and local, Is it always greener?.” New York

Times (2007): n. pag. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/business/yourmoney/09feed.html?_r=2&gt;.

Fast Food in America

By: Omar Sallehi

Americans haven’t experienced or seen much suffrage throughout its history when compared to other countries around the world. One major thing that Americans do lack or don’t take action upon is the mere 300, 000 deaths which takes place every year due to obesity. Leading the chart right above Australia, Americans show very little or no sign of change. Research statistics shows the obesity trend escalading from the 1960 too today’s society due to the unhealthy eating chooses people are making. Can we Americans make the change by eating less fast food and make better healthier choices? I personally think it’s a possibility and something that needs action taken upon by each and every one of us. We can reek the benefits in many aspects such as: improving our health  by not only better in our health and living longer.

What will change first, Americans or the Corporations that market this food to them? Possibly the corporations; out of all the business’ out there, Subway is one of the only large corporations that is marketing healthy food and a healthy lifestyle. Other companies are slowly adopting this idea of selling healthier food. On the other hand it appears that Americans are starting to realize that their love for fast food is a dangerous relationship. There have been a few lawsuits to fast food companies for marketing their food and the media is really starting to bring up the fact that American waistlines are increasing on a daily basis. Right now, unfortunately, it is a vicious circle – as long as Americans keep eating more and more fast food, the more these companies will keep marketing adults and children and the worse the health of Americans will get. Maybe the government should step in and force lower costs for healthy food and higher costs for junk food, or maybe, like Tobacco in the USA – Americans will wise up to the fact that by consuming these products they are only destroying themselves, and change. I had the answer of my question fast food for me is the sorry fat way to die.

Think Globally, Eat Locally

Introduction

The local food movement is becoming increasingly popular, especially with environmental issues being highly debated on.  The following papers discuss the pros and cons of such a system and the impact of implementation.

Food For Thought by Sarence Simatupang

American society is fast paced and we need a food system that gives us what we want when we want it. This system appears efficient but can yield harmful results. Buying local food is a way to end this faulty system. Although buying local food can be more costly and doesn’t offer as much variety as imported food, it is a better choice for our bodies and our environment.

The obvious reason to buy local is for health benefits. Imported food has to last from harvest to the market. To be able to sustain food, preservatives that destroy nutrients and cause some diseases must be added. With local foods, there is no need for preservatives because the food doesn’t have to travel far or last long. Some may argue that many can eat preservatives and be unharmed because the body’s resilience. The body however, starts to lose its resilience as it gets older and will be harmed by the preservatives (“Preservatives and Additives”).

Imported foods might appear cheaper than local foods but there are hidden costs. Transportation of food requires vast amounts of fuel which causes carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change. Some may argue that imported foods provide income for farmers in developing countries. Unfortunately, global warming will cause droughts in these countries and people will lose their ability to farm therefore losing their income (“Food Miles”).  It might seem that imported foods cost less, but they are really compromising the future of this planet and that price isn’t worth paying.

Gradually we can make the change to eating entirely local foods. We just have to realize that by buying imported foods, we are stealing from future generations. Importing foods causes global warming which will lead to economic disasters and animal extinctions in the future generation (Kingsolver 66). A simple change of lifestyle can make this world a better place for us and future generations.

Home Grown by: Hilda Maciel

Food is a key item to surviving along with water. When it comes to eating, we Americans don’t think about the negatives. . The food industry is not concerned with health, but with making money. Food companies are only interested in making food as tasty and attractive to you as possible. We need to take responsibility for caring for ourselves by eating properly; no one else will take it for us. Local food is healthy for you and it’s also healthy for the planet.

Many people argue that we need to care for and protect what is left of our planet. By importing food we generate large amounts of CO2 and it also burns up a lot of fossil fuel which contributes to global warming. Reducing transportation doesn’t save much in terms of dollars and cents, however, the ecological savings may be far more significant. Eating local can make a significant contribution to sustainability, even if only by making a strong personal statement in favor of reducing our reliance on non-renewable energy and protecting the natural environment.

The local food culture values food produced in ways that protect the natural environment and respects the farmers, food industry workers, and other living things involved in food production process. Local foods can be fresher, more flavorful, and nutritious than canned fresh foods shipped in from distant locations. By eating local, food buyers can get the food they actually prefer rather than accept whatever is offered in the supermarket. They can buy foods that are authentically different, not just in physical qualities but also in the ecological and social consequences of how they are produced.

If you are the type of person who wants to know where your food comes from and how it is produced, local food is something you should look into. And if you’re not that person you can still give it a try. Local food is for anyone and everyone.

Local Food Culture

by: Samuel Munguia

There will always be negative and positive factors when it comes to food culture. One of the good things about the food culture is how naturally all the food that is produced is grown locally. Some experts say that local food is one of the greatest things we can do for ourselves. There will always be those big time companies that had a stamped lie on their packages saying “produced locally” or “Fresh cut” but most of those are just lies so they can sell their products faster and make more money. How about actually taking care of yourself and buying or producing local food. Make a change in your life and help make one for others to.

As people we want to have access to a long and healthy natural life.  With most of the produced goods that are in the store, that healthy nature life isn’t going to go as planned, better yet how about some naturally local grown food? With local goods there is always the advantage that you avoid all those preservatives that doesn’t make the food go rotten or spoil. Local food culture is pretty much self explanatory, there are usually group of local food that sell their own grown produced products at a farmers market or a self owned buisness.

Us as California’s are a demanding state. If we want a strawberry shortcake durinf winter, we can get the strawberries from around the globe. We get many products around the country, but all these preservatives aren’t good for our bodies to take in. Yes local food can be a bit more expensive but is better for our health. Local foods are grown in healthy soil and picked fresh which makes it the best choice someone can make.

Yes shopping may seem stressful when you are always looking behind the labels to see what ingredients they have to try and make them healthy. So why not go to a local food Market and not worry about looking behind the labels, or how old a fruit may be , or when it was picked or packed. Go to your local farmers market and do most of your healthy food shopping there. Statistics show that people who shop at their local food store and eat organic have a healthier and stronger body. Eating healthy is a good way to start and change . It never to late to start a change , why not now!

Works Citied:

http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/eatlocal/

video: Food Inc.

http://www.grownlocally.com/Foodfacts.html

Saving the World, One Vegetable at a Time by Chelsea Wee

Society’s obsession with reviving and glorifying past trends does not bypass even the methods of food consumption, as seen by the growing attention towards the idea of the friendly farmer-next-door providing fresh produce to the community.  The local food movement promotes sustainability through a shared effort to support locally based, self-reliant food economies.  While I do agree with certain undeniable virtues of the movement, I feel that it is only fair to acknowledge the blemishes of such a system and that exclusively buying and eating only local produce may not be practical.

The argument for the local food movement can be very persuasive.  Supporters of the movement (also known as “locavores”) boast of the transparent use of responsible and organic farming methods, and improved freshness, quality, taste and nutritional value of the produce.  According to locavores, a sense of community is fostered through the interactions at farmers’ markets.  Purchasing local produce can be affordable through food co-operatives.  Supporting the movement decreases support for the giants of the food industry, and may force the decision-makers of these companies to rethink unsavory practices.   However, these noble claims neglect to acknowledge the reality and practicality of the situation.

The local food movement is far from flawless.  The limitations in the variety of local produce may create a nutritional gap.  Social responsibility must also be considered, such as the employment of the dependents of the previous system. Buying local produce can be inaccessible to those without the time or financial resources to do so, or those who live in regions that are environmentally unable to support a localized food system.  The creation of a closer community also has its setbacks, such as segregation, isolation and elitism.  Small-scale agriculture may be inefficient without the economies of scale and division of labor that industrial agriculture enjoys.

I feel that buying local produce is not the only solution to the problems of the current food system.  Considerations should be made regarding other methods to streamline the current system and a shift in emphasis towards healthy food preparation.  Instead of being a replacement, buying and eating local produce should be done as a complementary measure, striking a balance between both systems.

Obese Education not the Student by Wesley Akeli

We can argue the fact that our children consume some of the most unhealthy food products at the lunch tables in our school cafeterias but it doesn’t change the plain truth that a child’s obesity condition is strictly associated with the lack of education and knowledge of what they eat. This is a direct stab at our nations’ lack of education on food identity and culture due to the obesity crisis that we all face daily.

The food culture has a broad stage of things to counter but the fact that education has suffered the most, frightens and agitates the future development of the younger generations to come.  It is without a doubt that education is more than susceptible to improving the view of our local food culture concerning the developmental welfare of our children. It begins with the acceptance of noticing that we are in the most substandard place of health and that there is a need for a more better understanding of our current food culture. St. Vincent Health has it

“Culture- People learns to eat and cook the way in which they were brought up. Food and combinations are learned very early in life. Social events and family rituals are often centered on large meals. Today’s culture promotes eating habits that contributes to obesity.People may serve large portions and foods that are most readily available instead of choosing foods that are most nutritious. Cooking with butter, chocolate and other high-caloric foods is a normal part of the American diet.Also; food is often used as a reward in this country. Children are treated to sweets for cleaning their room, and the team is taken for pizza or ice cream after the game. Seldom is eating only when hunger is present.”(Biatric weight loss center of excellence www.stvincent.org)

On that note, change will take careful steps like that of the British Nutrition Foundation puts it  “Enabling children to select foods available from a balanced range of healthy and higher-energy foods available from tuck shops and vending machines provides an opportunity, we are concerned that the children may be deprived of the chance to learn the necessary skills to make healthier food choices, and will not necessarily learn to take responsibility for making healthy choices for themselves outside the school gates” reference Butriss J (2005) Government promises school meals will be transformed. Nutrition Bulletin 30:211-14

This provision will allow for kids in schools to become more aware of what they are putting into their bodies. Over all this quote not only unveils the failure of education but how the emphasis of health is down to its’ last strings. “Every child has a right to be as healthy as present knowledge can make him. Proper feeding is one of the chief factors in health.”-Lucy H. Gillett. The solution is child’s play. Foster children in making the best choices that contribute to good health by education. This problem called obesity is simply prevalent because there is a paucity of resourceful information that should be taught in schools to give life to our future generations. The education must predispose the individual of living a healthy life.

Local Food Culture, by: Hilda Maciel

Food is a key item to surviving along with water. When it comes to eating, we Americans don’t think about the negatives. All we think about is how good it feels to have food in our bodies. We don’t take the time of day to think about where our food comes from or how it’s made. The food industry is not concerned with health, but with making money. Food companies are only interested in making food as tasty and attractive to you as possible. These are the foods we eat and the products that help us survive. If they’re addictive, so much the better! Yet if they impact the consumer’s body negatively, that’s not the manufacturer’s problem. We need to take responsibility for caring for ourselves by eating properly; no one else will take it for us. That’s were local food comes in. It may not be the most exciting thing, but not only is it healthy for you it’s also healthy for the planet.

The food we eat daily travels thousands of miles just to reach our stomachs. Many of the foods carry preservatives. Preservatives are used in foods so that they don’t spoil. It seems like a good idea, but the preservatives added aren’t exactly beneficial. Lunchmeats are preserved with sodium nitrate, which converts to nitrous acid in the stomach and may cause stomach cancer. They are banned in Germany and Norway, but for some odd reason not in North America. Aluminums can leach into our food when used as packaging. Aluminums are linked to dementia. But not only are preservatives bad for the body, they’re also bad for the planet.

Many people argue that we need to care for and protect what is left of our planet. Our once lively planet is slowly dying due to the selfish fact that we humans don’t care enough to protect it. As many people know most of our food is packaged and imported. By importing food we generate large amounts of CO2 and it also burns up a lot of fossil fuel which contributes to global warming. Because of this many countries will experience drought which won’t allow them to farm. The most affected countries will be those we import from but that’s not to say our country won’t be affected. Reducing transportation doesn’t save much in terms of dollars and cents, since total transportation costs amounts to only about four-percent of food costs. However, the ecological savings may be far more significant. Energy for transportation is virtually all derived from non-renewable fossil fuels. In addition, transportation is a major contributor to air pollution, particularly carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. So eating local can make a significant contribution to sustainability, even if only by making a strong personal statement in favor of reducing our reliance on non-renewable energy and protecting the natural environment. Global food systems effectively threaten not only local foods systems but also the cultures that are deeply intertwined with those systems.

The local food culture values wholesomeness, nutrition, freshness, and flavor. It values foods produced in ways that protect the natural environment and respects the farmers, food industry workers, and other living things involved in food production process. Eating local improves food quality. Local foods can be fresher, more flavorful, and nutritious than canned fresh foods shipped in from distant locations. Eating local also encourages eating seasonally, in harmony with the natural energy of a particular place. Virtually all of food items in supermarkets and franchise restaurants today are produced using the same mass-production, industrial methods, with the same negative consequences for the natural environment and for civil society. In addition, the variety in foods today is largely cosmetic and superficial, contrived to create the illusion of diversity and choice where none actually exists. By eating local, food buyers can get the food they actually prefer rather than accept whatever is offered in the supermarket. They can buy foods that are authentically different, not just in physical qualities but also in the ecological and social consequences of how they are produced. They can choose to pay the full cost of food, rather than support the exploitation of society and the environment.            Eating isn’t always good for our bodies, it can help destroy it, but eating locally is good for our bodies and good for the environment.

But the damage we’ve done to our bodies is not irreparable. By cleansing the toxins from our body and replacing our normal diet with a healthful, natural diet filled with raw fruits and vegetables and small quantities of lean meat or tofu for protein, we can transform our health and our bodies. If you are the type of person who wants to know where your food comes from and how it is produced, local food is something you should look into. And if you’re not that person you can still give it a try. Local food is for anyone and everyone.

Works Cited

Craig, Geoffrey, and Wendy Parkins. “Culture and the Politics of Alternative Food Networks.”

http://docserver.ingentaconnect.com/deliver/connect/berg/15528014/v12n1/s4.pdf?expires=1273731240&id=56746622&titleid=75000119&accname=Guest+User&checksum=6E65D5F5C0624179E2ECE330E521AE7E

“Food Additives.” Web. <http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/preservatives.html&gt;

Saving the World, One Vegetable at a Time, by: Chelsea Wee

Society has a habit of reviving and glorifying past trends – from the resurgence of leggings as a fashion statement to the novelty of owning a classic car and the general obsession with anything vintage.  Lately, this habit has even spread to the ideals of food consumption.  The idea of the friendly farmer-next-door providing fresh produce (undoubtedly, cultivated lovingly in his picturesque farmstead) to the community has a growing fan base and is gaining plenty of media attention.

The locavore movement, also known as the local food movement, promotes sustainability through a shared effort to support locally based, self-reliant food economies.  The movement and its supporters (also known as “locavores”) promotes purchasing fresh produce from local growers within a certain radius (such as 150 miles) instead of patronizing industry giants that sell imported produce.  While I do agree with certain undeniable virtues of the movement, I feel that it is only fair to acknowledge that there may be more behind the pretty picture of white picket fences and red barn doors painted by locavores.  I feel that exclusively buying and eating only local produce has its disadvantages and may not be a practical option.

The locavore’s arsenal often includes words and phrases like “nutritious”, “delicious”, “environmentally friendly”, “freshness”, “sustainability”, “fueling the local economy” and “community”.  Indeed, a big “pull” factor of the locavore movement is the high quality of the produce.  The movement boasts that the admirable level of transparency upheld by local farmers assures the consumer of the use of responsible and organic farming methods, despite lacking official certification.  The high quality, taste and nutritional value are also attributed to the freshness of the produce, which is guaranteed by the removal of middlemen and long transportation routes.  Supporting small, local businesses boosts the local economy by providing the traditionally marginalized local farmer with greater financial security.  Local produce can be conveniently bought at farmers’ markets, where consumers can build direct relationships with the growers and mingle with other consumers, hence encouraging closer ties and neighborly affections within the community. The higher costs of buying local produce can be overcome by cost efficient options, such as community-supported agriculture (CSA) and food co-ops.  The local food movement is also a strong statement against the unscrupulously profit-motivated methods of the big, bad, corporate wolves of the food industry.  Locavores believe that decreased support for these companies would force the decision-makers to rethink their companies’ approaches – a step towards reclaiming control over food networks from agribusinesses.  However, these noble claims neglect to acknowledge the reality and practicality of the situation.

On closer inspection, the concept of the local food movement is far from flawless.  The limitations in the variety of local produce may create a nutritional gap and imbalance that could be avoided by consuming a complementary diet of imported produce.  Buying local produce can be somewhat inaccessible to those who do not have the time or financial resources to do so. Participating in a food co-op or CSA, although less financially exhausting, has a lack of flexibility as the quantity of produce delivered is fixed and consumers have no say in what the farmer decides to grow.  The local food movement, if practiced on a larger scale, could lead to the unemployment of people who depended on the previous system for survival – possibly the very people who are unable to afford to buy local produce, be it the truck driver or the farmer from a third world country.  As such, it is essential to consider how social responsibility should play into the local food movement.  Contrary to what advocates describe, increased interaction within a community could lead to segregation and isolation of certain groups.  A closer community has its setbacks, such as a decrease in privacy or the rapid propagation of gossip.  With buying and selling brought to a more personal level, one can only imagine the consequences of price competition or a shift in patronage taken personally.  Would consumers still ask uncomfortable questions at the risk of damaging the spirit of community and interpersonal relationships?  Putting power in the hands of a small group of people (the growers) to make nutritional decisions for the whole community might create an elitist sect, which would most certainly disrupt the warm, fuzzy feeling of community.  Strictly purchasing local produce undermines the diversity brought about by unrestricted global market access, creating a bubble around the community and isolation from other communities.   Economies of scale and division of labor work in favor of industrial agriculture, often creating a more efficient system than that of small-scale agriculture.  Moreover, the environmental reality dictates that it is not feasible for all communities, such as desert communities, to support a localized food system.  One also is led to wonder whether the local food movement is wrapped up in excessive naiveté and idealistic romanticism, echoing faintly of the propaganda posters of the 1949 land reform program of communist China, in which land owned by landlords were confiscated by the government and distributed to the peasants.

I feel that buying local produce is not the only solution to the problems of the current food system.  There needs to be an increased emphasis on how local produced is consumed and prepared by the consumer, not merely on the quality of the produce.  Alternatively, other considerations should be made to improve the current system, like streamlining transportation systems to meet fuel-efficient standards.  On the whole, I feel that instead of being a replacement of the current options, buying and eating local produce should be done as a complementary measure, striking a balance between both systems.

Works Cited

Kingsolver, Barbara.  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:  A Year of Food Life.  New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007.

Dubner, Stephen.  “Do We Really Need a Billion Locavores?”  The New York Times. 9 June 2008: n. pag. Web.  26 April 2010.

Food for Thought, by: Sarence Simatupang

When we think about food in America, healthy is not usually the first word that comes to our minds. In a society that is fast paced, we need food that can keep up with our busy lifestyles. Since our lives are expeditious, we don’t have the patience to wait for our food. Not only do we need “fast” food, we need a system that gives us what we want when we want it. We can get any type of food we want all year round. Although this seems like an efficient way of life, it can yield harmful results. These foods have to be shipped and packaged and have to go through a long process just to arrive in your home. This life of luxury doesn’t seem so great when you realize its negative effects. To have a better system of food, we must give up some of our luxuries. Buying local food is a way to end this faulty system. Although buying local food can be more costly and doesn’t offer as much variety as imported food, it is a better choice for our bodies and our environment.

Most of us are selfish people and think only of ourselves. Many of us would not change our ways because it affects others or because it affects the environment. So if you won’t buy local foods for the environment, do if for yourself. Of course the obvious reason to buy local is for the health benefits. Imported food has to last a long time. From the time it is harvested to the time it’s on your plate it must survive. To be able to sustain the food, preservatives must be added. Preservatives such as benzoates can cause brain damage, nitrates and nitrites can cause cancer, and sulfites may cause headaches, allergies, joint pains, and cancer (Rippo). These are only a few of the preservatives used, many of which destroy nutrients of the product. With local foods, there is no need for preservatives because the food doesn’t have to travel far. It doesn’t need to last long because there isn’t much time between harvest and the market. When buying local, you won’t get the harmful effects caused by the preservatives because there are none present. Some may argue that the body is very resilient claiming that many can eat preservatives and not be harmed. Although this is partially true there is more to it. The body starts to lose it’s resilience as it gets older and as a result will be harmed by the preservatives (“Preservatives and Additives”). That is why eating local foods can improve your health and your lifestyle.

Some of us could care less about our health. What we really care about in our food is the taste. Well for those who can relate to this, local food can also be for you. Imported food that sits in trucks for thousands of miles and a few weeks can’t possibly still taste good. These foods can’t compete with the fresh taste of the real thing. Since local food doesn’t have to be shipped and last as long as imported food, farmers can wait longer to harvest. This results in a fresher taste with more flavor and all the nutrients. Local farmers can choose what they sell based on taste instead of durability. As a result, most of the food in the farmers markets is more tasty and fresh. So not only is local food good for our health, it is also good for our taste buds.

Imported foods might be cheaper than local foods but does it really cost less? In economics we learn that there is more to cost than just money. There are hidden costs that come with imported food. The enormous amounts of food that are transported require huge vehicles such as trains, ships, trucks, or any other gas guzzling vehicle to transport them. Each food item in an American meal has traveled an average of 1, 500 miles. Not only is fuel used in the transportation but also in the packaging and other steps of processing (Kingsolver 5). All this use of fuel causes emissions of carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change. Some may argue that buying imported foods provide income for farmers in developing countries. Unfortunately, most of the money that comes from buying imported foods goes to the big companies that small farmers work for. Developed countries produce vast amounts of crops that are sold to developing countries. These crops can be sold much cheaper than the domestic crops of these developing countries. As a result, locals will buy the cheap imported crops and local farmers won’t have enough money to survive. They then look for jobs for the big corporations who take their crop and sell it to us (Kingsolver 66). Global warming will affect the countries we import from the most. Countries in Africa and other areas like it will experience droughts and lose their ability to farm (“Food Miles”).  It might seem to us that imported foods cost less, but they are really compromising the future of this planet and that is not a price worth paying.

Fortunately, saving the world doesn’t have to be hard. Eating local food can be done and doesn’t have to be a struggle. All we have to do is change our mentality. We can’t see eating local food as us being deprived from the variety of imported food. This abundance of food wasn’t possible back in the day. People settled on what was available each season (Kingsolver 65). We need to take a step back in order to go forward. We need to be patient and only eat what’s available in season. We must realize that by buying imported foods, we are stealing from the future generations. Importing foods causes global warming which will lead to economic disasters and animal extinctions (Kingsolver 66). This would be a less than ideal world for the next generation to live in. They can’t do much about their future. We have to act today to provide a better world for tomorrow. All we have to do is take little steps. Eating just one meal a day of solely local foods can save a good amount of oil. Gradually we can make the change to eating entirely local foods. A simple change of lifestyle can make this world a better place for us and the future generations.

Works Cited

“Food Miles.” Docstoc Documents, Templates, Forms, Ebooks, Papers & Presentations. 2 Mar. 2010. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. <http://www.docstoc.com/docs/27203310/Food-miles/&gt;.

Kingsolver, Barbara. Animal Vegetable Miracle 1ST Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. Print.

“Preservatives and Additives! Extended Shelf Life.” Free Healthy Recipes! Nutrition, Weight Loss Topics And Free Cook Books. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. <http://www.healthrecipes.com/preservatives_and_additives.htm&gt;.

Rippo, Maria. Common Food Preservatives: Learn about Harmful Effects of Food Preservatives. 20 Jul. 2009. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. <http://www.brighthub.com/health/alternative-medicine/articles/42704.aspx&gt;.