Each supermarket item comes from a different farm, processing plant, or even country of origin. Because of these options, many consumers are unaware of what goes into preparing and packaging their food. Learn why acclaimed food journalist and Instructor Michael Pollan believes you should know where your food comes from.
Food literally comes from two sources: plants and animals, but getting these items into your pantry and refrigerator requires a global network of farms and food chains. As a result of widespread global trade, countries profit from exporting to the rest of the world the food groups that they grow best. This means that the food you eat in North America may have come from suppliers in South America or Asia.
3 Sources Where Food Comes From
The food chain that leads to your grocery store could have many different origins all over the world. Here are three examples of where the food in your local supermarket comes from:
1. Domestic farms: Rather than being imported from other countries, many foods arrive at grocery stores from farms right in their home country. For example, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) tracks only food items produced in the United States. Some domestic farms are small, local, and family-run, whereas others are large, corporate-run enterprises. Each farmer or farming company may differ in how humanely they treat their animals or how organically they raise their crops.
2. International farms: Different habitats generate and sustain various food products. For example, one country's ecosystem may be conducive to growing avocados and blueberries, whereas another's may be more conducive to growing pumpkins and soybeans. Because of globalization, the world's population can now consume food products imported by municipalities from countries far beyond their borders.
3. Manufacturing or Processing plants: As they pass through processing plants, some cereals, meat products, and even plant-based foods become contaminated with artificial preservatives and byproducts. These industrial food manufacturers produce as much food as possible for distribution to grocery stores. Chemicals added to foods can reduce nutritional value while also assisting producers in preserving and packaging it more efficiently.
According to Michael, there are four major food chains, the largest of which is the industrial food chain. The tiniest is what he refers to as the "first person food chain." "This is food you grow or forage for yourself," he says. It has the shortest food chain. So we go from the longest to the shortest, and they all follow very different rules and produce very different types of food."
Why is it important where our food comes from?
Food sources are important, whether for your own personal health or on a larger environmental scale. Here are a few of the reasons Michael Pollan, a food journalist and educator, believes you should know where your food comes from:
To inform your consumption: Food labels may appear to be a quick way to determine how healthy an item is, but Michael believes these identifiers can be misleading. "People put labels on things that have no meaning," he says. "'Farm fresh' or 'natural' are meaningless terms. As a result, it's very easy to become perplexed in the supermarket." When you understand where your food comes from, you can make more informed dietary choices.
To maintain healthy eating: If you want to eat healthy food, you should pay attention to how farmers and processors prepare it. "You know, you can have a potato here and a potato there, and they might look the same, and they might even taste the same," Michael says. However, one of them may contain pesticides." A small organic farm, for example, will most likely provide you with more nutritious and natural food than an industrial processing plant.
To protect the environment: Some foods are bad for the environment, while others make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. "The industrial food chain is harmful to the environment," Michael claims. "Eating from the regenerative food chain may also benefit environmental health." Learn more about the farms and vendors who supply your food if you want to be an environmentally and socially conscious consumer.
What Effect Does Our Food Have on the Environment?
Global food consumption, particularly from industrial sources, has the potential to have a significant negative impact on climate change and other environmental concerns. People who grow food in a sustainable and organic manner, on the other hand, help the environment maintain a healthy state of equilibrium. Sustainable farming also contributes to increased food security for people all over the world.