The United States of America can be described remotely as the land of plenty of food. The amount of foodstuff in the United States has been on the increase as food producers have been increasing. The main food problem in the States now is not its shortage, but its availability in different forms, ranging from fast-foods to normal foods prepared in families. The majority of American people, if not all, are using fast foods which have consequently led to rising levels of food-related complications. Currently, it has been estimated that four out of ten American citizens will be suffering from obesity within five years if measures are not taken to reduce the number of fast-food consumptions in the nation. Roughly over 30% of the American citizens are suffering from obesity. This percentage is said to be on the increase thereby increasing the risk of heart diseases, chances of developing obesity, diabetes and also some form of cancer.
tailored to your instructions
for only $13.00 $11.05/page
This research paper is concerned with finding out about the States’ food system and how immigrant farmers contribute to the food situation in current American society. It has been discovered that overwhelming number of American citizens are having health complications related to food and eating habits. The hypothesis for this discussion is taken to be the current American food situation is influenced by immigrant farmers’. The immigrant farmers came from Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa; the immigrants came to America with their farming culture and variety of food crops that have added to the already existing food types in the United States of America.
Food and immigrant Farmers
As much as food is plentiful in the United States, it has caused lots of health challenges to the American people. One of the most affected communities is Latino community in which a good portion of the population suffers from obesity and diabetes. It seems that this is one of the communities in which consumptions of industrially manufactured food products are higher than fresh organic foods.
It has been argued that the food industry has zealously persuaded people to consume their industrially manufactured food. According to the available literature, the food manufacturing companies are mainly concerned with increasing the share value of stockholders (Medeiros-Neto et al 1). The influx of the food manufacturing industry is due to the affluence of the American people who can afford to buy industrial fast food to avoid inconvenience; the food manufacturers have therefore embarked on tight competition through doing lots of advertisements and customer relations. The authors also indicate that the food companies lobby with the government and the nutritionists to endorse their food products as health-promoting. According to them, this scenario represents the use of politics in the food manufacturing industries (pp.12-15). Issue related to health has, elaborately, been in which it is stated that promotion of health to the highest status possible is very crucial, the diets must achieve balance, but a balanced diet must be able to provide sufficient energy in the form of calories, necessary vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are essential in preventing deficiencies and also those that support metabolism. Moreover, various nutritionists have agreed that the diet must exclude excessive amounts of nutrient contents that can lead to chronic diseases. Fortunately, the most favorable range of intake of most dietary components is quite wide. It is apparent that people throughout the world eat many varied foodstuffs and follow lots of different dietary patterns, many of which aid the promotion of excellent health and long life. In addition, they say that the dietary patterns that most excellently promote quality health obtain most energy from plant foods and considerably less from animal products. Evidence shows that many American citizens consume more calories than they burn off beside the fact that many of these people also eat too much food, some of which are rich in fats (pp.16-21).
The food industry of the United States of America is remarkably successful result of the 20th-century trends that have led to the growth of small firms to giant corporations and also from a society that prepared its food at home to the one that purchases almost half of its meals that is prepared elsewhere. The society has changed from obtaining its foods from the gardens to getting them from elsewhere when the foods are already transformed in some ways and transported over a long distance. These transformations have created a firming system that is much less labor-intensive and far much more effective, efficient and specialized. Comparison has been made between those who lived on their farms by 1900 and those that live on farms now. In this case, it is indicated that by 1900, forty percent of the American population lived on firms while now the percentage has dropped to less than two percent. This clearly indicates that the manufactured food products are becoming the dominant meals for the American people which are also indicative of the reasons for the increasing food-related health deterioration amongst American people. In other words, the amount of available food in America is more than the Americans can consume (pp. 20-26).
The American food industry has only succeeded in supplying junk foods into the market. Majority of the Americans who consume junk foods have always become oblivious of the dangers that the junk foods pose. The fact is that junk foods are low in terms of nutritional contents and high rich in calories. Junk food is everywhere within the American nation and this is due to thorough campaigns by the food manufacturers who compete for the customers in the market. Some of these foods are preserved with chemicals so that they can be transported over long distances to other parts of the country. The raw materials used in the manufacture of the industrial foods are grown using fertilizers and other chemicals that make them grow fast. It is important to note that many a time, the food industry targets children and young people with junk foods supplied in the market. The advertisers tap into children’s play in doing their adverts and children flavors are almost twice sweeter than those meant for adults. To cash in the thriving food industry and owners in the United States of America use the immigrant farmers to work on their farms.
In an online article, the author also talks about the facts of junk food products. He points out the effects of unhealthy food on the health of individuals. The author argues that the awareness of the negative effects of junk food on health is rising and that people are turning away from junk food products and embracing the consumption of healthy dietary food products. However, the author contends that there are still a good number of people, especially children, who still consume junk food products in large quantities; junk foods are ready alternatives to home-prepared food. The junk foods are instantly available and can be consumed by individuals at the point of purchase. The authors of this article describe junk foods as containing little nutrients and having high contents of dangerous ingredients. In this article, the author comes up with different facts about the consumption of junk foodstuff; junk foods contain a lot of sugar contents. The author argues that just a single cola can contain sugar contents of up to ten teaspoonfuls. He the article therefore, advises the consumers of cola to be very careful while consuming cola (para3). Moreover, the article points out that amongst the health problems associated with junk foods are tooth decay, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer and too much sugar in the body that may bring about other health complications (Buzzle para1-4).
as little as 3 hours
One of the biggest concerns is concerned that the most affected people, when it comes to consumption of junk foods, are the children who are described to be more prone to advertisement gimmicks. Children like sweet things, therefore, the sweeter the junk products the more attractive they are to children. Fast foods are easy to eat and are convenient besides being cheaper than the natural organic food products. The author implies that instead of letting the children concentrate on consuming fast food, responsible parents should teach their children to consume natural organic food products which are healthy and full of necessary nutrients required in the body. This should also be followed by any other person who is overconsuming junk foods. The over-consumption of junk foods is a direct result of people having less time to spare in order to prepare meals at home.
Many pieces of advice have been advanced by many organizations and individuals that for people to live healthily, they should shy away from junk foodstuff. It is true to mention that, if care is not taken, many Americans will lose their lives through preventable causes. Taking for instance, the excessive amount of sugar that is found in junk foods has the possibility of causing the insulin levels to remain higher than necessary which leads to occurrence of metabolic complications. Even though many people are shying away from the junk foods, food manufacturers are responsible for the increasing numbers of junk food consumers; this they do by their aggressive marketing of such food products. The companies do their advertisements in very attractive ways to attract as many consumers as possible; however, these companies have not taken the initiative of sensitizing the public about the danger of overconsumption of junk foods. Scientific findings indicate that the too much fat found in the junk food stimulates the brain to demand more food supply and the effects of such fats in the unhealthy foods on the brain are long-term. The increasing number of food outlets in the United States of America is an indication of high and increasing demand for ready-made foodstuff. Even though there is a need for fresh organic foodstuff for healthy living in the United States, it is unfortunate that most fresh food products are commercial oriented and only few are consumed fresh. Moreover, community farmers are few and their products cannot satisfy the whole American population.
Minnesota Food Association is nonprofit organization that is concerned with healthy living of all the United States of American people. The organization runs the Big River Farms which is a group of communities consisting of new immigrant farmers being trained. The organization leases land to be used in fresh produces which makes great contributions to the agricultural activities and initiatives supported by the group of immigrant farmers. The literature by the organization (Para 2) indicates that some of the immigrant farmers grew up in a farming environment and therefore are experienced in farming and agriculture. With reference to this literature, immigrant farmers have been expanding their agricultural activities with a view of supplying the whole nation with fresh produce. The organization has been encouraging the growth of natural organic foods through workshops, conferences and training. Minnesota Food Association recognizes that the food system in the United States of America has become dysfunctional and the natural organic healthy foods are being replaced by the processed junk foods (Para 4). The organization also realizes that the unnecessary consumption of junk food has some negative effects on human health. It records that, on an annual basis, thousands of immigrants come into the United States of America from agrarian societies and those immigrants settle to develop their farming activities with a view of sustaining their communities and also contributing to the local economies.
The Minnesota Food Association engages in the training of immigrant farmers on how to best produce fresh foods. This is a clear indication that the immigrant farmers play a major role in supplying the American citizens with an alternative to the most common junk food products. The implication of this is that the problem of junk food consumption is becoming a disaster in the United States of America and therefore the need for serious interventions. Some other organizations and individuals are campaigning for the American people to consume less and fewer junk foods and instead substitute them with fresh and healthy foodstuff obtained directly from farmers. The organization gives an insight into the fact that many American citizens have become sensitized to the need to stop others from over-consuming industrially manufactured food products.
It is important to note that the promotion of healthy foods has been made most possible by the participation of immigrant farmers who emigrate from agrarian societies. The immigrants are natural farmers and would, therefore, like to continue with the agricultural activities. As the American society advances, it gets farther away from agricultural activities. If this does not concern the government, then the entire United States of American population will, shortly, be a hundred percent consumers of industrially processed junk foods. However, with the immigrant farmers, there is still hope that direct production of food from the farms is still possible. Most of the pieces of land used by the immigrant farmers are owned by Americans and the Americans lease the pieces of land to the immigrant farmers for farming purposes. The immigrants and the few American farmers have managed to develop the farming activities in commercial status so that the food market also contains foodstuff that is directly harvested from the farms and sold directly to consumers. The immigrant farmers are therefore, one of the greatest sources of hope for healthy food production in the United States of America. Nonetheless, the success of campaigns against the over-consumption of junk or industrial foodstuff greatly depends on the cooperation of the government; the government should have funds set aside for sensitization process on the health implications of consuming lots of junk foodstuff. A major setback to this program, is that many of the trained immigrant farmers end up working in the white-owned farms where they are underpaid despite working long hours. The government has not put any measures in place to ensure that their working conditions are conducive.
The author creates awareness about the consumption of junk food. The author is more concerned with convincing people to switch their focus from junk food consumption to consumption of foodstuff that promotes health. He argues that the more one buys junk foods the more the family members consume the junk foods and the more their health becomes at risk. The author advises individuals to be careful not to be swayed by the attractive adverts placed by the food processing companies (p.81). The author also takes the initiative to convince people to consume fruits and natural vegetables and at the same time should reduce the amount of junk food intake. The author offers an insight on how an individual can stay healthy and avoid the possibility of being a victim of diet-related diseases or disorders (pp.82-90). He further advises that junk food should only be eaten as a light entertainment and should not be taken as the main dish or part of the meals on a daily basis.
According to the literature, the author is taking into consideration the cognitive involvement in the consumption of junk food. He argues that the advertisers always appeal to the cognition of their potential customers. The adverts influence the consumers to think they are hungry and therefore need fast food to take care of their hunger. The adverts convince the buyers that they are not complete without the junk foods on offer. In short, the author majors his argument on psychological influence that makes people consume more and more junk foodstuff despite the knowledge of the possible health hazards such foods have. He states that an individual becomes what he or she thinks about himself or herself hence, if one believes junk foods are good for him or her then she or he has to contend with the consequence of consuming such foods (p.91).
The urge to consume junk foods indeed emanates from the cognitive system. The consumption of junk food can be compared to smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. Cigarette smoking is addictive and those who smoke it are aware of its potential dangers yet they still smoke it anyway. The same principle applies to consumption of junk foods. Those who consume this type of food find it very convenient and cheap and would rather spend less to get them rather than spending time and money to prepare meals at home. It is then important to start dealing with over-reliance on junk food by changing one’s perception of the industrial food products. Individuals should stop associating industrially manufactured food products with convenience and cheapness but link them to potential health hazards they can cause. Instead, it will be important for American citizens to associate foodstuff obtained directly from the farms with healthy lives and their ability to reduce the risk of contracting diseases like heart attacks due to too many fats in the body system, becoming obese due to too much food, stomach disorders and increased blood sugar level which comes about due to inability of insulin to regulate the amount of sugar in the entire body system. This is where the community farmers need to be taken into account; they are important when it comes to healthy food products. The government can play a big role in sensitizing the American citizens on the importance of community farming by encouraging them to own their own small family farms or purchase their foodstuff from other community farmers. This will reduce the health complications associated with junk foodstuff (Ong, p. 167).
Case study: Mexican Farmers
To find out how the connection between farmers and the food industry in the United States; we confuted a case study in which the main focus was the Mexican farmers. They are located in Watsonville, CA and the family interviewed lives in a camp provided by the government. The family members work on a farm where it picks strawberries but get only 1.7 dollars for every ten pounds of strawberries they pick. The camp is only open to them during the period when agricultural activities are going on. This period falls between the months of April and October. This scenario presents their children with schooling problems since during the camp closure they have to be shifted back to Mexico where academic programs and curricular are not similar to those of the United States. The results of these are difficulty in catching up, poor performance and lack of proper settlement at school.
The family members are amongst the farmers who contribute to the food industry; however, their living condition is very poor and neglected. They use a lot of fertilizers and chemicals in that farm; these chemicals contaminate the water they use and also have itching effects on their hands. Besides, they live in a dumpy region that is not good for average inhabitants. The chemicals they use put them at the risk of suffering from heart-related diseases and infections in their respiratory tracks which subsequently drive the cost of their medical high and unaffordable. This scenario is representative of other immigrant farmers in the United States of America.
It is important to note that the fast-food industry in the United States of America is thriving due to the commercialization of agricultural activities. Many landowners have employed immigrant farmers on their farms to help produce for the growing food industry. Some of the landowners lease their land to immigrant farmers and charge them relatively highly. The immigrant farmers have never enjoyed better working conditions even though they contribute to the food industry.
Community workers and immigrant farmers are the main sources of the raw materials used in the food industry. This can be attributed to the fact that selling fresh farm produces directly to the food industry seems to have more returns than when sold directly to consumers. There is a great link between industrial food and the community and immigrant farmers. This implies that they are greatly interdependent.
- Buzzle. “Intelligent Life on the Web.” Junk Food Facts. 2010.
- Medeiros-Neto, Geraldo. “Progress in obesity research: 9.” Volume 9 of Progress in obesity research. John Libbey Eurotext, 2003.
- Minnesota Food Association. “A US registered nonprofit.” Razoo, 2010.
- Ong, Alex. Mind Your Own Wellness. New York: OCL Publishing, Inc., 2008.