2. When was the last time you had a “WOW!”
experience with food?
*Pause for a moment and write down the last time you were truly
amazed by the food you were experiencing.
3. Food as a ‘nexus’ issue:
• Food is a nexus issue,
connecting many different
• We need to address the food
system in an integrated way,
including environmental, social
and economic components.
4. What kind of food system do we have today?
• Only a handful of corporations (“Big Ag”) control the input,
processing, and marketing of most of what we eat.
• The corporate food system, heavily dependent on chemicals and fossil
fuels, makes a massive contribution to climate change – it is
responsible for up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
• Big Ag controls over 83% of all foods in the US marketplace, dictating
what is available in the market. Thanks to US farm policy, which
subsidizes wheat, corn and soy it is increasingly difficult for small
family farmers to compete.
5. Food Monopolies
• Only four corporations – (ADM, Cargill and Dreyfus, Bunge) – control
more than 75% of the global grain trade. They overwhelmingly push
commodity crops like corn and soy on local farmers at the expense of
• The four largest companies controlled 82% of the beef packing industry,
85% of soybean processing, 63% of pork packing, and 53% of broiler
• Six corporations – Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Syngenta, Bayer and BASF –
control 75% of the world pesticides market.
6. When you go to the supermarket, you may think there are hundreds of different brands,
however large companies such as Nestle owns over 2000 brands in 150 countries.
7. Where does your chocolate come from???
• About two-thirds of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa
where, according to a 2015 U.S. Labor Department report, more than
2 million children were engaged in dangerous labor in cocoa-growing
• When asked this spring (2019), representatives of some of the biggest
and best-known brands — Hershey, Mars and Nestlé — could not
guarantee that any of their chocolates were produced without child
labor, which means that children are still harvesting cacao in modern
8. The labels at the grocery store want you to think
that this is what farming looks like:
9. The reality is that our meat industry looks like this:
Industrial Chicken and Beef Farms. This is what you buy in the
• CONCENTRATED(CONFINED) ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATION:
• In animal husbandry, a concentrated animal feeding operation
(CAFO), as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, is
an intensive animal feeding operation in which over 1000 animal units
are confined for over 45 days a year.
11. If you want to
13. Sustainable Food System Definition:
• A sustainable food system provides healthy food at affordable prices
that are competitive with low-cost, high-calorie foods; Ensures that all
residents can walk, bike or take public transit to a full grocery store.
Minimizes the environmental impact of food production and
transport, including greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption
and chemical fertilizer and pesticide use. Is socially equitable and
provides local jobs that have fair working conditions and wages.
14. Principles for a Healthy Food System (from the
reading this week)
• Insures food security for all residents
• Community based
• Locally integrated
• Reasonably seasonal in nature
• Presents primarily opportunities rather than problems
• Connects “healthy” across the layers of the system
• Is diverse
15. Food Justice
Three Aspects of Food Justice:
o Access to healthy, locally grown, culturally appropriate food.
o Living wage jobs for all food system workers – farmers,
farmworkers, restaurant, food service, etc.
o Community Control through cooperatives and community
o Right to food: The right of all human beings to live in dignity, free from
hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. The right to food is not about
charity, but about ensuring that all people have the capacity to feed
themselves in dignity.
16. Successes of the current food system
• abundant food supply in the developed world.
• fresh fruits and vegetables available year-round.
• cheap food.
• luxury foods such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and
spices easily available around the world.
• effective food preservation technologies
(refrigeration, freezing, canning, packaging)
• convenience foods.
• mechanization produces high labor efficiency.
17. Issues with the current food system:
• continuing soil loss from erosion, depleted soils.
• food safety concerns (mad cow disease, food poisoning
outbreaks, antibiotic resistance, toxins and pesticides)
• water pollution, air pollution (& odors), habitat loss, water
• continuing hunger – and rise of obesity
• failing farms, economic uncertainty and stress
• declining communities
• chronic diseases linked to agricultural chemicals
• reliance on fossil fuels, global warming
• farmland loss to development,
• difficulty of starting out in farming as a career
18. Steps to explore to move toward a more
sustainable food system:
• Support your local farmers. (Localharvest.org)
• Join a C.S.A’s. (Community Supported Agriculture) In a C.S.A, you
purchase a “share” of the harvest at the beginning of the season,
then you pick up a box of produce each week of the growing season.
• Find out which foods are specialties in your region and seek them
out. (MA produces a lot of seafood, cranberries, and vegetables)
• Buy produce that is in season.
19. Educate yourself about which foods contain the highest levels
of pesticides and try to buy organic for those foods.
Each year, the Environmental Working Group release their list of the Dirty Dozen
and Clean Fifteen. The “Dirty Dozen” are the foods with the highest pesticide
content, the Clean Fifteen have the lowest.
20. Class Notes: Sustainable Food Systems
• A sustainable food system provides healthy food at affordable prices that
are competitive with low-cost, high-calorie foods; Ensures that all residents
can walk, bike or take public transit to a full grocery store. Minimizes the
environmental impact of food production and transport, including
greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and chemical fertilizer and
pesticide use. Is socially equitable and provides local jobs that have fair
working conditions and wages.
• Food Justice: Everyone should have access to healthy, locally grown, fresh,
culturally appropriate food, living wage jobs for all food system workers and
community control through cooperatives and community organizations.