“Farm to Fork” is just one of many hot trends in how people want to eat. Eating fresh certainly has merit, but farm-to-fork and other flavor-of-the-day food consumption trends are not sustainable agricultural movements for a variety of reasons.
The facts: Current environmental practices are killing Mother Earth.
- 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget is used to get foods from the farm to your table or that trendy restaurant.
- Agricultural production uses 50 percent of land in the U.S. — and consumes 80 percent of all the fresh water used in America.
- 40 percent of all food grown in the U.S. is wasted. That’s about $165 billion of waste each year.
- Most uneaten food ends up in landfills, where it contributes to rising methane levels and ozone depletion.
- Reducing food waste by 15 percent could feed more than 25 million Americans each year.
Food gets wasted for many reasons. In the United States, most waste is attributable to picky consumers who choose only the best-looking fruits and vegetables. In less-developed countries, fresh food often is wasted because of poor infrastructure — food spoils before it can get into the hands of the people that need and want it.
Food waste: A closer look
- Water waste: Farming uses about 80 percent all water consumed in the U.S. Food waste means about one-third of our precious water resources are wasted.
- Ozone depletion: Roughly 33 million tons of food waste ends up in landfills each year. This waste is the single-largest contributor to methane emissions from landfills.
- Water pollution: Harmful runoff from fertilizers and pesticides used in agricultural production is the largest source of water pollution in our rivers and oceans.
- Deforestation: About 37 percent of the earth’s usable land already is under agriculture. Of that, about 25 is used to grow crops; the rest is pastures and meadowlands. As the Earth’s population swells another 2 billion to a projected 7 billion people in the next 25 years, we will have to further encroach on sensitive river deltas and rain forests to feed the growing population if there are no significant improvements to current agricultural practices. Cutting down rain forests and filling in river deltas for farming further destroys an already fragile biodiversity balance with these delicate ecological systems.
- Overfishing: Fish is an important food source because it contains important nutrients such as omega-3 fats and other essential micronutrients. But we have over-fished the oceans, and they are close to being depleted. Though new aqua-farming methods will help alleviate some of the stresses on our oceans caused by over fishing, our burgeoning population needs to find other sources of the important nutrients that come from fish. Even though eating fresh sounds like a wonderful way to nourish the body, it’s fraught with many problems as outlined above. It’s also expensive and therefore an elitist solution rather than a solution for everyone, everywhere regardless of their geographical location or social status. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is good for those individuals who can afford it, but it only exacerbates current disastrous agricultural practices, which creates more environmental problems for future generations.
Peak Health: Zero-waste foods Our foods have zero waste. We remove water — the major cause of food spoilage — and foods are rehydrated at time of consumption. Just two of our meals a day gives you 70 percent of all your Daily Values of all required nutrients. Why do we recycle cans and plastic, or use recyclable bags at the grocery store? Because we care about leaving Mother Earth healthy future generations. Incorporate a zero-waste food program into your life.