The industrialization of agriculture has failed throughout American history, mainly because food has an inelastic demand, the market has little price discrimination and food price does not capture its environmental costs. Therefore, many scientists suggested going back to local food systems that were popular in 20th century, arguing they are more sustainable in terms of economics, environment, and health. However, local food systems cannot benefit from inter-region trades and economies of scale. Also, they have higher transactional costs and less stable supply. With larger population and less arable lands, we cannot fully rely on the local food systems as we did before the Industrial Revolution. A more plausible solution would be to establish a complementary relationship between industrial and local food systems. To maintain a balance, the government should make information about various foods more accessible to the public by putting social advertisements and holding public lectures. Also, to manage food price by incorporating social costs, the government should apply cap and trade or taxes policies that are widely used when dealing with carbon emission. An alternative system, community supported agriculture, is worth considering as well. Consumers buy shares of produce directly from local farmers and become more involved in the production process. In conclusion, the government should actively seek methods to balance the industrial and local food systems, instead of constantly debating which one is better.
Archive for the '04-20-1630' Category
Despite its name the Freshman 15 can continue throughout an individual’s college life. The term is in fact defined as the total amount of weight gained during an individual’s college life. Causes of the Freshman 15 vary among individuals. However, there are two common factors shared among those students. Those factors are parents’ control and colleges’ influences on individuals’ eating habits. Regrettably, there are several misleading myths about these two factors. Many parents believe that a restriction strategy is the best way to control their children’s consumption. However, recent research indicates that this strategy will only make those restricted foods more attractive to the children. Thus, they will tend to eat more of those unhealthy foods when they are not bound by their parents’ restriction. Additionally, most colleges do not have compulsory physical education classes because they believe it is not their responsibility to ensure that students get their exercise or do not gain too much weight. However, it turns out that several college students claim that they do not go to the gym because of the time constrain due to go to workload from their classes. The Freshman 15 is a complicated dilemma; however, it is solvable. Fully understanding the truth about parental feeding style and colleges’ influences on dietary behaviors is a great start to solve the problem. Parents should not restrict their children’s unhealthy consumption but rather tell them the reasons why they should eat healthily. Moreover, required physical education class in college is another effective solution.
The average body mass index (BMI) of the United States has increased over the last few decades. While this has been attributed to multiple reasons, a significant source of blame belongs to the American diet, a cuisine of which 62% consists of processed foods. As more Americans become overweight, the incidences of numerous physical and mental diseases increase. This phenomenon, however, has many parallels to the rise and fall of tobacco products in the United States. Given the ubiquity of tobacco products before the 1990’s, the anti-tobacco campaigns in the United States were extremely successful in decreasing the use of tobacco products in adolescents aged less than 18 years. A reason the campaigns were so successful is due to the scare tactics used: graphic images that evoke very powerful, emotional responses in the viewers. An application of these scare tactics to influence healthier eating in the United States follows from the successes of the anti-tobacco campaign. Scare tactics that are similar to that of the anti-tobacco campaign would be used on children aged 12-18 years: graphic images of diseases resulting from obesity would be shown. However, children aged 2-12 years would be presented with more age-appropriate advertising: cartoon characters will instead depict the ramifications in a less-graphic manner. If the results of the anti-tobacco campaign follow through, the introduction of these advertisements will increase the consumption of healthy foods, and decrease the consumption of processed foods in the United States.
Many dieticians have blamed television for the widespread lack of exercise and poor nutrition among children. Television is thought to have a significant impact on children’s food choices and sedentary lifestyles through the constant ads and commercials that promote and encourage the consumption of processed foods. As a result, it seems reasonable to blame television for the increasing rate of obesity in children. However, television is simply an outlet that has been corrupted by food ads and misused by parents and guardians. Although television plays an important role in the increase of childhood obesity, childhood obesity is not caused primarily by television. The health issue results from a combination of factors: food corporations that market fatty foods to children, children’s television networks that allow this content to be aired, and parents and guardians who use the TV as an “electronic babysitter.” All of these are jointly responsible for childhood obesity, but through their combined effort they can also be the solution. By limiting the excessive amount of unhealthy food advertisements and increasing the healthy food ads on television, the increasing rates of obesity in children can be ameliorated. Though it would also be difficult to implement, parents do have control of what their kids see and eat. They can effectively and positively impact their child’s health by providing a schedule of when their children can watch TV and guidelines to affect what they eat.
Meat consumption is at an all time high and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has predicted that this demand will more than double to 465 million tons by 2050. With such trends, the most pressing matter seems to be to find a way to efficiently use Mother Nature’s limited resources to feed a continuously growing meat loving population. Currently, CAFOs are proving to be the most efficient method of production, generating 49.9 kg of beef per hectare per year while pastures generate 14.4 kg of beef per hectare per year. However, there are many people who protest against these operations due to their destructive environmental impacts and promotion of acts of animal cruelty. My research investigated both the advantages and disadvantages of CAFOs in order to take a comprehensive position on whether CAFOs should be completely aborted, continued as is, or modified. I found that the best solution for current affairs is to promote CAFOs, as it is the lesser of all evils in terms of environmental destruction and the best in terms of meat producing efficiency. However, these operations are most definitely far from perfect and the government must invest in more research to find ways to maintain this operation’s productivity while eliminating its side effects.
The U.S. government has an undeniable influence on the agriculture industry, whether it is through subsidies to farmers or regulations determining what types of food are organic. This is especially true in meat processing where the government, through agencies like the USDA and FTC, can regulate both how meat is processed and the market structure of the industry. Despite this, more than 25% of the US gets sick each year from food borne illnesses attributable to US meat. Additionally, numerous studies have shown that the meat processing industry is in fact an oligopoly concentrated in the hands of four companies and those companies control nearly 84% of the market in some key areas like beef processing. Because the companies in the meat processing oligopoly are so large and powerful, not only can they manipulate the market, but through their political activism they have the ability to influence politicians and therefore government rules and regulations, allowing them to produce dirtier meat with no repercussions. By eliminating the USDA and the large meat packing firms, and by treating meat processing as a public good similar to water, we could clean up our meat. By nationalizing the meat processing firms, we could end the influence large processing firms have over the USDA. In addition, we could make sure processing plants follow existing rules and regulations designed to produce clean, healthy meat, because all processing plant employees would be responsible for following these rules. By making workers beholden to public health instead of the bottom line, we could implement policies that would lead to clean beef and markets that are more efficient.
With all this talk about Western diseases and the Western diet, it’s no wonder why America has become obsessed with diet trends and food science. However, too often, eating healthy foods can be perceived as a daunting and expensive task. Michael Pollan proudly adorns the cover of In Defense of Food with his quote “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” but Pollan’s representation of food leaves the reader with the after-taste of hard-earned money sacrificed. Concentrating on Food Stamp recipients, this paper examines how existing programs can help low income families eat well rounded, health benefiting foods. The paper analyzes the Thrifty Food Plan, or TFP, which is used by the government to adjust Food Stamp allotments according to food price inflations, ensuring recipients can afford to purchase high quality foods. Criticisms over the TFP’s time consuming recipes are analyzed, concluding that the TFP serves as a backbone to ensure that recipients can in fact afford whole, fresh foods, but should be taken at face value, as a resource to ensure Americans on Food Stamps benefits receive sufficient allotment. The recipes of the TFP are also analyzed and found to have been criticized too harshly in the first place, with many recipes taking under thirty minutes to prepare. The paper also overviews the need for more educational approaches to show recipients how programs like the TFP can be utilized to their full advantages, especially if they desire to follow a non-Western diet.