How do my food choices affect the environment?

February 24, 2020 – All food has a footprint. When we buy food, grow food, prepare food, serve food, or eat food, we make choices.  The February 22nd Sustainable, Secure Food blog explores how each choice we make impacts the environment in some way.

Blogger Christian Peters explains, “We call this world the food system, and it is a vast network of farms, fisheries, processors, manufacturers, stores, restaurants, and home kitchens. These production systems are knit together by a distribution system of roads, rails, waterways, airways, and storage facilities that crisscross the globe.”

Every action we take either has a direct impact, such as burning gas on a stove, or an indirect impact, such as the land used to grow wheat for bread. Every food purchase we make tells the food system, “Please keep supplying this item, and by the way, whatever you’re doing to produce this food is fine by me.”

In the blog, Peters covers many examples of how our choices can affect natural resources, pollution, land use and more. He leaves readers with three key points:

  1. Every action counts. No food, even home-grown or self-caught food, is impact-free.
  2. Many of the environmental impacts are inherently negative toward the environment. However, some impacts could be made neutral with better management.
  3. Food systems also produce positive impacts.

“Recognize that food systems are complicated,” Peter says. “In trying to understand the impact of your actions on the environment, be sure to think carefully, to listen to other arguments, and to reconsider your opinions when shown new evidence. Know that trade-offs abound between human benefits and ecosystem benefits and be ready to examine not only facts but also your own beliefs.”

To learn more about food choices and the environment, read the new Sustainable, Secure Food blog: https://sustainable-secure-food-blog.com/2020/02/22/how-do-my-food-choices-affect-the-environment

This blog is sponsored and written by members of the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America. Our members are researchers and trained, certified professionals in the areas of growing our world’s food supply, while protecting our environment. They work at universities, government research facilities, and private businesses across the United States and the world.

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