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State of the World 2004 Watching What We Eat Brian Halweil and Danielle Nierenberg.

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Presentation on theme: "State of the World 2004 Watching What We Eat Brian Halweil and Danielle Nierenberg."— Presentation transcript:

1 State of the World 2004 Watching What We Eat Brian Halweil and Danielle Nierenberg

2 Watching What We Eat Overview: 1.A Revolution in Every Bite 2.From Farm to Factory – and Back 3.Food Without Pollution 4.Eat Here 5.The Rise of Food Democracy 6.Policy Priorities

3 Watching What We Eat The rise in international food trade and the proliferation of heavily processed and packaged foods has distanced most people from what they eat, both geographically and psychologically

4 Watching What We Eat Artificially low prices for food do not reflect true costs Ex.:- Farmers often unable to make a decent living - Need to clean up environmental problems caused by destructive forms of agriculture

5 Watching What We Eat Many people in wealthier nations are not aware of how food items reach their tables For example... - From pâté-de-foie-gras to shark fin soup to caviar, many luxury foods are produced under brutal and ecologically disastrous conditions Luxury Foods - Industrial fleets have fished out 90% of all large ocean predators in just the past 50 years - Many species in sharp decline Fishing Trawlers

6 A Revolution in Every Bite Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned and involved - Making a political statement with their food choices -Refusing to support destructive forms of agriculture Growing demand for fair foods Ex.:- certified organic fruits and vegetables - pasture-raised beef - sustainably caught fish - bird-friendly coffee and cocoa

7 25% of planet’s surface devoted to food production (more than the world’s forested area) Impossible to separate agricultural practices from the health of rivers, wetlands, forests, and the living environment Our food choices rival transportation as the human activity with the greatest impact on the environment A Revolution in Every Bite

8 Most profound changes eaters can make: 1) re-evaluating their consumption of meat 2) selecting food produced without agrichemicals 3) buying locally grown food A Revolution in Every Bite

9 A Growing Appetite for Meat Global meat production has increased more than fivefold since 1950 World Meat Production, Source: FAO

10 A Growing Appetite for Meat If the trend continues… Source: Delgado et al., 1998 Kg per person per year Developing countriesIndustrialcountries side of beef 1 pig 50 chickens equivalent to: Projected Meat Consumption in 2020

11 Industrialized animal production is the most ecologically destructive sector of global farming From Farm to Factory – and Back

12 Inputs to Industrial Meat Feed - 1 calorie of beef, pork, or poultry needs calories of feed - 95% of soybean harvest eaten by animals, not people - Feed containing meat and bone meal can cause mad cow disease Water - Producing 8 ounces of beef requires 25,000 liters of water

13 Inputs to Industrial Meat - Cows, pigs, and chickens get 70% of all antimicrobial drugs in the US Additives - 1 calorie of beef takes 33% more fossil fuel energy to produce than a calorie of energy from potatoes would Fossil Fuels

14 Outputs of Industrial Meat - Manure from intensive pig operations stored in lagoons can leak into groundwater or pollute nearby surface water Manure - Belching, flatulent livestock emit 16% of the world’s annual production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas Methane

15 Outputs of Industrial Meat - Eating animal products high in saturated fat and cholesterol is linked to cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses - Factory farm conditions can spread E. coli, Salmoella, and other food- borne pathogens - Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human variant of mad cow disease, has killed at least 100 people - Outbreaks of avian flu in densely populated chicken farms can spread to humans Disease

16 Growing movement of farmers who choose to raise their animals outside Increasing consumer demand for pasture-fed or free-range meat From Farm to Factory – and Back

17 Advantages of raising animals outside: Nutritionists say that grass-fed meat is healthier (no antibiotics, no hormones, higher in Omega 3 fatty acids that lower cholesterol, etc.) Animals raised on pasture require little, if any, grain, resulting in less pressure on farmland to raise monocultures of corn and soybeans to feed livestock Farmers enjoy lower costs: no antibiotics, no growth promotants, no pricey feed, no huge sheds to maintain From Farm to Factory – and Back

18 Problems with Chemical- Intensive Agriculture Fertilizers and pesticides pollute surrounding environment –reducing biodiversity –contaminating groundwater and drinking water supplies Health risks associated with exposure to pesticides that are known or suspected carcinogens Vicious cycle: pests develop resistance to pesticides, requiring heavier doses and more potent chemicals

19 Organic Farms Yield More Than Just Crops Plants - 5 times as many wild plants, and many more species - 2 times as many birds Birds Soil Life - 2 to 5 times as many arthropods (including butterflies and spiders) and soil life, like earthworms

20 Food Without Pollution Other benefits of organic farming: –No cost to public for removing chemical fertilizers and pesticides from drinking water supplies –Emphasis on cover crops, compost, and manure increases organic matter in soils, reduces erosion, and increases productivity –Organic produce is more nutritious, containing higher concentrations of antioxidants and other health- promoting compounds

21 Food Without Pollution Growing demand for organic foods Global Sales of Organic Foods, circa 2002 Canada ($850 mill.) Japan ($350 mill.) Rest of world ($825 mill.) Germany ($2.8 bill.) United Kingdom ($1.6 bill.) Italy ($1.2 bill.) France ($1.2 bill.) Other Europe ($3.2 bill.) Source: IFOAM United States ($11 bill.) Total = $23 billion

22 Eat Here Today, the average food item in the U.S. travels 2,500–4,000 km (25% farther than in 1980) However, eating local foods - preserves regional cuisines - keeps money within the community - saves energy (less hauling, packaging, processing, and brokering required) - reduces greenhouse gas emissions (less transport)

23 Eat Here Source: Jones A meal made from imported vs local ingredients in Britain generates 650 times more transport-related carbon emissions Beef joint 21,462 km AUSTRALIA Blueberries 18,835 km NEW ZEALAND Broccoli 8,780 km GUATEMALA Strawberries 8,772 km CALIFORNIA Potatoes 2,447 km ITALY Runner beans 9,532 km THAILAND Carrots 9,620 km SOUTH AFRICA All British 48 km All these food items can be grown in a British climate

24 Eat Here Local foods are fresher, healthier, and less expensive

25 Food Democracy More farmers, consumers, chefs, and food businesses are resisting the temptation to eat blindly, and are instead eating deliberately They are part of a growing movement to re- establish our lost connection to food and the people who produce it Consumers seeking better food choices are the driving force behind change

26 Policy Priorities Government Action Shift the more than $300 billion spent on agricultural subsidies each year into support for ecological farming Consider taxing pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, factory farms, and other polluting inputs or farming practices

27 Policy Priorities Government Action Work with farming organizations to increase the share of their land under organic production to 10% over the next 10 years by: –improving organic certification programs –boosting organic know-how at agricultural universities, research centers, and extension agencies –providing subsidies or tax credits to farmers in the first few years of conversion

28 Policy Priorities Government Action Reform international trade agreements to eliminate export subsidies, food dumping, and other unfair trade practices that restrict the ability of nations to protect and build domestic farm economies From the national to the local level, use food procurement for schools, hospitals, government offices, etc. to support ecologically raised crops from local farmers

29 About the Authors Brian Halweil is a Senior Researcher at the Worldwatch Institute Danielle Nierenberg is a Research Associate at the Institute

30 More information on State of the World 2004 at


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