Friday, November 19, 2010

Producing Food For Tomorrow

“If you really are what you eat, then your fast, cheap, and easy”

This was a quote I found funny, and shockingly true, at the Producing Food For Tomorrow Event this past Saturday. Featuring experts and scientists in the field of food, the event looked into the way technology acts within our daily menu, and how it will go on to effect the way we eat in the future.

There are positives and negatives to the human interaction behind food. Mankind has the ability to produce crops with Vitamin C, to compose crops resistant to droughts and diseases, and even improve the current traits of crops to resist challenges such as insects and parasites. But with these enhancements, some disastrous effects are beginning to result.

One of the most shocking instances for me appeared within the seafood discussion. According to the food experts, seafood is second in what is most imported from other countries. (the first being oil) People consume around 21 kg of seafood in a year, and the experts predict this number could change into 40-60 tons by 2025.

First, lets look into the problem behind imported seafood. Some of the most delicious fish are from abroad, such as the coveted Bronzini of the Mediterranean. But here are the facts of imported fish in America. Experts revealed that less than 8% of the imported fish is actually inspected, with 20% of that failing against the U.S.’s health regulations. This leads me into a very interesting question : Is fish really the low-fat “healthy” protein alternative after all?

Aside from the recent health issues of seafood, we also learned a little something about the environment. With the need for seafood constantly growing, our ocean has become exploited by 70%. If we do not look into other alternatives of farming fish, our culture faces the threat of our various seafood to vanish forever.

The seafood issues bring into perspective the need for a change. The experts named three alternative routes we can take to ensure the fulfillment of our “foodie” needs.

First, our food should be more local. Food grown in an area close to us not only brings profit to our own local economies, but also acts according to our health regulations. It is hard to ensure healthy food when it travels across states, oceans, and distant countries. But by choosing local food, we can be comforted by the natural goodness of the food grown around us.

Next, we need to reduce our food waste. Food waste can total 25-50% of what is actually produced. Aside from aiming to adjust our portion sizes, we can technologically transform our food waste for some pretty useful purposes. For example, A Triple Layer Plastic Bag can be produced to store crops after the season is over. This can be especially helpful in countries like Africa, where African Farmers struggle to store cowpeas. Income can be increased by $150,000 and around $250,000,000 can be brought into the economy.

Lastly, farmers and people in the food business need to be front-line on the global issues. We have the ability to reduce 25% of the global greenhouse emission. By better use of production and better care of tress or perennial crops, we can have a massive effect on the health of our environment.

Just like anything, technology has its good and bad effects. Before this event, it was easy for me to buy the cheaper Salmon in a fish store, because, well, it was cheaper! But, what I took away from this event, which I hope you can as well, is that you really are what you eat. Perhaps there is a reason that the Salmon is cheaper, perhaps its because it was not produced with the utmost nurture and care. Don’t you think you’re worth the care? Think about it.

No comments: