The ‘Dark Side’ of everyday foods

When we buy an Avocado pouch in the supermarket we generally don’t think about where it came from, who touched it on the way here and most importantly what resources were invested in growing this amazing fruit. We care about the price and ripeness, we can agree on that.

Agricultural Greenhouses gas (GHG) emissions roughly contribute between 6-16% in increasing global temperatures[1]. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, GHGs produced by agriculture are currently on the rise. It is projected that growing economies of countries such as those of Southeast Asia will have a sharp increase in demand for meat and dairy. Of course, it just happens that meat and dairy production count for a majority of the pollution per kilogram. And those avocados we love so much, did you know it takes 70 liters of fresh water to grow 1 avocado[2]?

[1]https://www.teagasc.ie/publications/2017/reducing-greenhouse-gas-emissions-from-agriculture.php

[2]https://old.danwatch.dk/en/undersogelseskapitel/how-much-water-does-it-take-to-grow-an-avocado/

Let’s Talk

Being informed is the first step to doing the right thing. The foods we choose to consume today might just be causing damage to the planet long-term and hence the need to advocate for a better way.

Sustainability

In comparison to the American and Brazilian mega farms that engulf the world with GHG emissions that destroy the earths preciousness, traditional family farming offers an alternative approach. It’s organically “organic” and quite frankly rare and special. Traditional family farming helps to preserves biodiversity (bees, plants, etc.) of the land and help maintain water & soil quality.

Why? Because sustainable farming families cannot just pick up and leave to another country or farm once they destroyed the land they live on; they have to live there and pass it on to the next generation. It’s not a business, it’s as precious as life, and that is trustworthy.

This is why a lot of people are now switching it up and eating sustainably grown foods. It’s a mission, but a good one. Whether its locally or foreign grown, as long as its sustainable, it is good!

So, would you rather eat 1 avocado that grows naturally using rain water or 1kg bag of avocados that use 1,280 liters of fresh water from communities that are not informed of what’s going on until it’s potentially too late. I will let you can answer that one yourself.

Let’s take a look at the darker lifecycles of some of the everyday foods we eat:

Soybeans

Soy’s impact on the environment comes from forest clearing. Forests act like carbon sinks, trapping carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. In Brazil, the area of forest cleared for soybean plantations is responsible for the release of over 473 million tons of carbon dioxide. Every 2 pounds of soybeans produced requires about 530 gallons of water; one bushel of soybeans weighs about 60 pounds.

Sugar

Sugar cane production has caused the greater loss of biodiversity than any other crop on the planet. In Florida, the run-off of phosphorus from sugar cane fields is largely responsible for the decline of the Everglades. It can take up to 5,000 gallons of water to grow one acre of sugar cane.

Avocado’s

Apart from the enormous amount water needed to grow avocados the production of this fruit is concentrated in the state of Michoacán and much of it is controlled by the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel – making farmers and landownersgive up a percentage of their income, enforcing a tax on fruit sold and land owned, and even murdering those who don’t want to pay up. All this has resulted in the term “blood guacamole”.

Cashews

According to a 2011 Human Rights Watch report, in Vietnam, the largest volume exporter of cashews in the world, drug addicts are placed into laborcamps to process cashews in poor conditions. Imagine being forced to peal open the two armor-like shells the whole day, every day, and to top it off, deal with a drug addiction problem.

Not all food is bad for the environment, organic farming can be profitable, and organic food appeals to consumers as both a healthy and ethical choice. Beyond money and ethics though, sustainable farming practices result in environmental benefits.

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