J500 Media and the Environment

What does it all mean? by amandajayne16
February 5, 2010, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Food + Health, J500 Week 2, Society + Media | Tags: , , ,

I have reached that point again where I am in the process of trying to find a part-time job. It takes mere seconds to scrawl the various websites and seek out the vacancies but the hardest part is just about to begin. The resume. It is a mind numbing process where I feel forced to analyze my character and find the words that truly define me. Like the contents of a supermarket shelf, I’m being labeled and each word I use leaves me to second guess its adequacy. That is the problem with words, they are interpreted, and often differently so.

In the last couple years, there has been the emergence of the ‘Eco-warrior’ but in the battle to save the environment, different weapons are used and different causes are fought.

Fresh 'local' produce?

In 2005, the University of Iowa calculated the number of food miles of a strawberry yogurt to be more than 2,200, before it finally reached the supermarket shelf. This failed to include the packaging. Localvores emerged, hungry for action and media campaigns were born. People were encouraged to buy local and support their community in order to drive down the food to fork distance. Individuals could now look for that ‘local’ label and be humbled to know that they have purchased something with ‘local’ roots. But what really is ‘local’ and can I be a Localvore aswell? Yes I want to support my local community, but do I walk to my local shop and buy the organic snacks he stocks, or do I drive to a farmer’s market to support my ‘local’ farmer. Should I begin a 100 mile diet and where exactly are my apples  being grown?

The answers to these questions, I do not know, however the fact that I am contemplating these issues means that the ‘Localvore’ trend, despite its difficulty to interpret was somewhat successful in awareness raising. In Britain, the buy local phenomenon has become so popular that some are discouraging its popularity. In response to a UK Government ‘Food 2030‘ manifesto, Phil Bloomer, a policy director for Oxfam in Great Britain told ‘Globe and Mail’, he worries that the buy local philosophy will lead countries to,
“erect walls around countries instead of seeing ourselves as having a shared destiny.”

But does Bloomer and the rest of world share the same thoughts about what our ‘destiny’ is?

Amanda N


2 Comments so far
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I am just curious what your take on local is. Being from Scotland (which has smaller land space than the U.S. and only one type of climate to grow food {no hope of citrus, etc.}), do you think eating local is really doable for people in your country? Do you think it is harder or easier in Scotland than it is here? -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev

I feel that climate is not an excuse for not being able to eat locally. The expansion of glasshouse use in the 19th century has enabled the growth of peaches, grapes, figs, pineapples and bananas in Scotland. It can be done, however I would assume with more difficulty than in a tropical climate. I think that regardless of being from America or Scotland, both societies are used to variety and choice. ‘Locavore’ is not a new phenomenon, merely an adoption of living practices that were in place before the introduction of globalization and enhanced and effective transport methods. I think America and Scotland face the same problems of ignorance and affordability toward buying local produce. People have to be educated about their food source and made aware of basic agriculture methods and environmental issues. I also think that that cost is a deterrent. Large grocery stores are able to entice customers with low prices that are not sustainable for your local farmer to compete with.

Amanda N

Comment by amandajayne16

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