YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

You Are What You Eat

 

Because of Your Food
Lesson 8: Natural Resources: Food and Agriculture
Lesson 9: Energy from Natural Resources
The Situation
Have you ever heard of a person’s ecological or carbon footprint? Have you ever heard the adage, “If everyone lived like an American, we would need six planets just to support the population”? The impact of many of our daily lifestyle decisions on the Earth, its natural systems, and its resources is discussed in statements like these. And a significant chunk of that effect results from the food we consume. Keep in mind that agriculture is the primary usage of the resource that we just cannot survive without. That is correct; agriculture uses significantly (and I do mean significantly!) more water than any other industry.
You will investigate the effects of your dietary decisions on the environment and discover potential modifications you may make to lessen those effects in this writing assignment. You will discover in Part 1 how choosing particular foods affects your carbon footprint on the earth. You will discover where the food you eat originated, how far it may have traveled, and the energy resources connected to those “food miles” in Part 2.
The Problem
Part 1: Food options
(1) Use one of the following websites to determine your ecological footprint to get started:
Network on Global Footprints
What is an ecological footprint, exactly?
(2a) Give two instances of inquiries about your diet that you received from the ecological footprint calculator you used.
(3) Name two food items that can have a negative impact on the environment. (Consult the linked Agriculture & Food lesson for details about this as well.)
(3a) Justify why the two food categories you mentioned have a greater environmental impact than other food types. Make sure to take into account each stage of those foods’ creation.
Part 2: Food’s genesis
You must choose a common food that you eat that contains at least five ingredients for this section of the assignment. I suggest using packaged snack foods or breakfast cereal because they both have a large number of ingredients that may be easily investigated. You can also pick three items from a recipe or meal that you make or eat frequently and have five or more ingredients.
(4) Describe the cuisine you selected.
4a) How frequently do you consume this food?
(4b) What is the total number of ingredients in this food?
(5) Choose three ingredients from your meal and describe their origins (i.e., the most likely source). Include the food miles (the distance a food item traveled from its source to the location where it was consumed).
*Tip* Students frequently struggle with item (5). How do I start? They do so often. In all honesty, it might be challenging to pinpoint the specific origins of components like high fructose corn syrup and whole wheat flour. You can, however, conduct research to identify the most likely source. The majority of the durum wheat, the main component of pasta, is farmed in North Dakota before being presumably transported to the manufacturer’s processing facility in a neighboring state. The wheat used to make pasta under the Barilla name is processed in Ames, Iowa. From there, it probably travels to a distributor before arriving on your plate from the store shelf. The point is, some digging will be required for this job. Former students have even claimed to have called businesses like Frito Lay to inquire about the source of their potatoes! If done properly, it can be a fascinating look into the American food system and an eye-opening experience.
(6) What did you discover about the origin, composition, and distance of your food? Think about the benefits and drawbacks of using ingredients and food items sourced from various locations in your response.
(6a) Will you keep consuming this food? If not, why not?
*Tip*
Try to think about the foods you eat and how they affect the environment while you do this section of the assignment. Consider your diet in general as well as the three elements you choose as you reflect. Have you thought about the meat, where it comes from, and how it is made if you consume hamburgers? Do you believe there is a better way to eat that is less harmful to the environment? How do society as a whole, the government, and the media promote or discourage eating foods that are healthy for the planet and your body?
Technicalities
Short papers are frequently more difficult to write than long papers! Papers should be 600 to 800 words long. Please enter your word count in parenthesis at the very beginning of your response, for instance: (word count: 751). Your essay should be written in clear, succinct English that illustrates your main point or ideas using a variety of local and global awareness-related topics or components.
You must cite all external materials (including the online lessons) that you used to create your response. Include a works cited page that follows the citation guidelines you followed when writing your paper. Your submission will be graded once it is uploaded to the Writing Assignment (Turn It In) Drop Box. We examine every document with TurnItIn to look for unoriginal (possibly plagiarized) information.
Any sort of plagiarism will not be accepted, and the grade for the work will be zero (read the syllabus for further information on plagiarism). (NOTE: You cannot drop an assignment mark if you obtain a zero for plagiarism.)
*Tip* The most recent iteration of the Chicago Manual of Style (author-date) should be used for citations. If you have any issues concerning the Chicago Manual of Style format, please refer to the citation format paper in this folder or search “Chicago Manual of Style, website citation” on Google.
Additionally, we advise you to reference your online lectures in your homework response. Please include the proper in-text citation, such as “Lesson X, page X.” Keep in mind that the goal of these writing exercises is to help you draw parallels or connections between the material covered in the class and your personal experiences. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to keep this in mind as you submit your response.
Since Wikipedia is a wiki and anyone can edit it, it may contain inaccurate material that is nonetheless useful when writing papers. Therefore, when conducting research for a paper, you shouldn’t rely on Wikipedia as a source. Use it as a starting point instead, then seek elsewhere; this will help corroborate and confirm whatever information you may have read about previously on Wikipedia. You will receive a lower grade if you utilize Wikipedia as a source for a work in this class.

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