Food Chain too Big to Fail

   02.20.17

Food Chain too Big to Fail

There is an eye opening write up on The Guardian about our food chain – The supermarket food gamble may be up. The article discusses how developed nations all over the world depend on cheap labor and dwindling resources to maintain grocery store shelves.

In 2002, food writer Joanna Blythman coined the phrase “Permanent Global Summer Time,” which means regardless of the season, grocery stores are packed with fresh fruits and vegetables only grown in the summer.

The current system is unsustainable.

Technology

With the innovation of technology, grocery stores and warehouses no longer depended on locally grown food. The Internet provided companies with the ability to see real time sales and inventory.

Small local farmers no longer sell their crops to grocery stores. The sales are wrapped up in contracts with large companies. Companies who have the resources to import food from anywhere in the world.

People have become accustomed to buying a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables year round. This has forced companies to compete in order to offer the freshest foods from all over the world with little thought about the global impact.

Carbon Footprint

Moving food from one nation to another comes with a large price, and that price is the carbon footprint. For example, there is a net loss of 126 calories of fuel for every head of iceberg lettuce Britain imports from California.

Food production is dependent on fossil fuels. Everything from the production of fertilizer to cooking is dependent on non-renewable energy sources.

Developing nations are clear cutting rain forest and turning the land into farms.

Cheap Labor

The production of our food supply chain is dependent on desperate migrant workers. The workers usually come from poor nations riddled with extreme poverty. They are willing to do hard manual labor for hours on end for even the most modest of wages.

It is these desperate workers that our food chain is built on. Any attempt to unionize is opposed by those seeking to protect profits over people.

Current Food Chain Unsustainable

Developed nations simply can not ignore the environmental and human effects of growing our food in far away nations. Rather than telling customers no, that fruit is out of season, companies contribute to pollution and exploit cheap foreign labor.

The simple solution is to bring the local farmer back into the grocery store. Grow local, buy local, and consume locally grown foods.

Nations would still import certain foods that can not be grown locally, but pollution and exploitation of low wage workers would be greatly decreased.

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