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Global Food System Essay

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Updated: Apr 23rd, 2021

Food Justice

The global food system creates many challenges both for the producers of food and consumers. People who work in the sphere of agriculture are often exposed to the harsh environment. People from low areas lack access to healthy and nutritious food, which is often substituted with harmful junk food. Nowadays, food is expected to be fast, cheap, and rich in calories, rather than wholesome and healthy.

That is why one of the main issues nowadays is the problem of obesity –the result of unjust global food policy that has touched many nations. Another critical aspect of the problem is the unequal distribution of food, which leaves some countries with an excess of food while others struggle to survive. In order to address these challenging questions, it is important to elaborate on a new approach to the politics of food. Otherwise, the inequality will only get worse with each year. A food justice approach implies that the food is grown, distributed, and consumed equally.

Food Security

While food justice deals with the working conditions of the farmers, equal access to healthy food, and with the issues of the consumption and distribution of food around the globe, the concept of food security focuses on the quality of the food which people consume. Nowadays, food security often faces risks that come from food companies. Economic and political aspects of industrialized food production have negative effects on the quality of food.

For the sake of economic profit, food companies tend to spend less on production, often at the expense of food security. For example, costly ingredients are substituted with cheaper ones. Another way for companies to minimize costs is to disregard safety procedures. Similarly, the consumers of the food are often bound to save their money and resort to buying cheaper food, which threatens their health and well-being.

Conventional Food System and Its Impact

These problems are the results of the conventional food system, which is based on the principle of economic efficiency. The goal of this type of food system is to gain economic profit and to reduce the costs of production. One of the most important factors that have shaped the outlook of the conventional food system today is industrialized agriculture and food production, as well as the global trade. The impact of conventional food production is ambiguous.

On the one hand, it made the food prices more affordable and broadened the diversity of food. On the other hand, the negative effects of this system become more evident every day. Industrialized agriculture is determined by economic efficiency, and it requires the minimization of the production costs, which often poses a risk to the environment and to the communities. Fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers for the soil, and the plastic, used for the packaging damage the ecosystem both locally and globally. Another important factor that is beneficial to the food industry yet harmful to public health is food processing.

Food processing was the answer to the greater demand for affordable food that also would be rich with calories. Food processing enabled companies to supply the growing number of customers with cheap food. The conventional food system and industrialized agriculture have a negative impact on the environment, polluting it with fertilizers, packaging plastic, greenhouse gas emission, and also on the population’s health.

How Conventional Food System Affects Communities

In terms of the impact of the food industry on different communities, it is important to note that the food industry often moves production to less-developed areas. It enables the industry to reduce the production cost because of the cheap labor and lenient economic and environmental regulations. The conventional food system affects people in many ways: it exploits the underdevelopment of some areas of the world, transforming their culture, it affects the global health and ecosystem.

Industrialized food production has a negative impact on local communities. Chemical fertilizers that food companies apply pollute the environment: air, soil, and water. Apart from that, the food corporations interfere with the development of local farming. A lot of high-productive lands that could have been used for the purposes of local farming are lost due to the development of food corporations.

Actions which should be done to promote food justice

There is no use denying the fact that it is rather difficult to change the whole system, especially if a person does not have some power or some levers of influence. However, there are still several possibilities for me to influence the situation. First of all, I can join the local farmers market. Having done it, I will show my point of view on the issue and, additionally, I will provide financial support to local farmers.

Moreover, attention should be paid to the character of food which is bought. First of all, organic products can protect me from the influence of pesticides, fertilizers, and some other substances. Additionally, it can help to show people, who surround me, the importance of organic food. At last, by buying organic products, I will also support small local farmers and their way to produce food.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Global Food System." April 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/global-food-system/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Global Food System'. 23 April.

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