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The Impact of Food Choices on the Economy and Environment

I live in Manhattan, New York, and I can find anything I need in local grocery stores. My favorite one is Gristedes since it is situated close to my home and works long hours. Also, there is a delivery option, which is highly crucial in the present-day pandemic situation. For this project, I decided to research two food products: salmon fillet and orange juice. I will utilize the data collected to reflect upon how food choices can impact the economy and environment.

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Data Collection

Identity of food item 1: Salmon filet.
1. Where was the food item produced? The food item was produced by Acme Smoked Fish. The company is located in Brooklyn, New York.
2. Approximately how far would the food item have to travel to get to your city/town? The food item would have to travel for approximately 9 miles to get to my location.
3. Would this be considered a local food based on the reading (Local foods are ones that are sourced from within 100 miles)? Based on the reading, this is considered a local food.
4. If the answer to number 3 was no, is there an alternative that you could use as a substitute that is local? The answer to number 3 was “yes,” so this question requires no response.
5. List a minimum of four energy inputs that humans must provide to grow, package/prepare, and transport your food item from where it was produced to the store.
  • Animate energy (human muscles): to deploy gears;
  • Diesel energy: for the work of the fishing boats;
  • Electric energy: for refrigerators;
  • Industrial energy: for timber, steel, synthetic fibers;
  • Renewable energy (tidal and wind power): to deploy in any of the above cases and promote sustainability (Muir, 2015).
Identity of food item 2: Orange juice (Simply Orange High Pulp Orange Juice).
1. Where was the food item produced? The food item was produced by The Simply Orange Juice Company. The company is located in Apopka, Florida.
2. Approximately how far would the food item have to travel to get to your city/town? The food item would have to travel for approximately 1,000 miles to get to my town.
3. Would this be considered a local food based on the reading (Local foods are ones that are sourced from within 100 miles)? Based on the reading, this cannot be considered a local food.
4. If the answer to number 3 was no, is there an alternative that you could use as a substitute that is local? There is no alternative since all orange juice manufacturing companies that are closest to New York are located in Florida, which is the same state where Simply Orange High Pulp Orange Juice is produced.
5. List a minimum of four energy inputs that humans must provide to grow, package/prepare, and transport your food item from where it was produced to the store.
  • Electric energy: to extract juice from oranges and pack the product;
  • Diesel energy: to transport juice to grocery stores;
  • Fossil fuel energy: for the production of plastic bottles;
  • Renewable energy (solar power): to reduce the environmental footprint of the production process.

Data Analysis

The Impact of Food Purchases on the Environment

At present, the influence of the food industry on the environment is unprecedented. If products are not grown locally, the process of their packaging, storage, and transportation is rather costly and energy-consuming (Trefil & Hazen, 2013). Furthermore, if foods have to travel far to get to the stores, the amount of waste and pollution grows extensively (Kaplan, 2010). According to Ritchie and Roser’s (2020) research, food accounts for 70% of freshwater withdrawals and 26% of greenhouse gas emissions. These data indicate that the tendency to purchase locally grown foods is much more beneficial for the environment than buying products made in different regions or even countries and delivered to the stores. Therefore, buying salmon filets from a local company is much more environmentally friendly than purchasing orange juice produced in another state and delivered to the local store.

The Impact of Food Purchases on Economy

The food industry has a considerable influence on the economy. First of all, locally produced food items enable farmers to earn a positive net income and decrease their operating expenses (Dumont, 2017). Apart from that, local food systems promote the enhancement of the local economy in many ways. Specifically, the money obtained from local operations is invested in the development of the local economy (“Local and regional food systems,” n.d.). Also, new jobs are created due to the need for local farmers to gather fruit and vegetables, pack them, and distribute them to local stores (Dumont, 2017; Small, 2014). Hence, purchasing salmon filet produced by a local company helps to boost the economy, whereas buying orange juice that is not made nearby does not have a beneficial effect on the local economic system.

The Advantages of Purchasing Locally Sourced Food Items

Recently, the benefits of buying locally have been gaining more and more attention from scholars and environmentalists alike. The first evident advantage of such a practice is the reduction of food miles (Singh, 2019). Food miles represent the distance it takes for food to reach local stores. The longer this distance is, the more fossil fuels are burned and the more greenhouse gas emissions are released into the air (Singh, 2019). Research indicates that there is a strong potential for local food production in the USA (Anderson, 2015). The second positive effect of buying local food is the possibility for consumers to receive fresh and healthy products that have not undergone any dangerous preservation methods (Singh, 2019). In the case of orange juice shipped from another area of the country, one will consume a pasteurized product. Meanwhile, by buying locally produced salmon filet, one can expect to eat fresh fish with a minimal rate of preservatives used.

The Disadvantages of Purchasing Locally Sourced Food Items

Along with the evident advantages of locally sourced foods, there are some limitations to this practice. Firstly, however surprising it may sound, local foods are more expensive (“Disadvantages of buying local,” 2019; “Local & regional food systems,” 2015). Secondly, the selection of foods grown locally are smaller than those grown globally (“Disadvantages of buying local,” 2019). Due to the climate and weather conditions, some products can be grown in localities only at certain times of the year, and sometimes they cannot be produced locally at all. In the case of the researched food items, locally made fish can be more expensive due to the company’s economic conditions, and the selection of such food may not be wide. Meanwhile, the choice of orange juice is wider, and one can choose one to one’s liking.

References

Anderson, L. (2015). Most Americans could eat locally, research shows. Web.

Disadvantages of buying local & why you should do it anyway. (2019). Web.

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Dumont, A. (2017). The economic impact of locally produced food. Web.

Kaplan, J. (2010). Eat green: Our everyday food choices affect global warming and the environment. Web.

Local and regional food systems. (n.d.). Web.

Muir, J. F. (2015). Fuel and energy use in the fisheries sector: Approaches, inventories and strategic implications. Web.

Ritchie, H., & Roser, M. (2020). Environmental impacts of food production. Web.

Singh, D. (2019). How can buying locally benefit the environment? Web.

Small, S. (2014). Think global, buy local: A new study looks at the impact of buying local produce on local economies. Web.

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Trefil, J., & Hazen, R. (2013). The sciences: An integrated approach (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 31). The Impact of Food Choices on the Economy and Environment. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-impact-of-food-choices-on-the-economy-and-environment/

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StudyCorgi. "The Impact of Food Choices on the Economy and Environment." January 31, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-impact-of-food-choices-on-the-economy-and-environment/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Impact of Food Choices on the Economy and Environment." January 31, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-impact-of-food-choices-on-the-economy-and-environment/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Impact of Food Choices on the Economy and Environment'. 31 January.

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