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The Politics of Food

The politics of food covers the political aspects of food production and control as well as its inspection and distribution. Food politics is influenced by ethical considerations, health and environmental issues, and cultural arguments concerning areas like agricultural and farming procedures, and regulation of retailing methods (Lien and Nerlich, 2004) Despite many debates surrounding the politics of food, all these issues mainly boil down to assuring food security.

Community Food Security is a strategy to ensure accessibility to sufficient amounts of culturally appropriate food for everyone that are deemed to be safe and at the same time, nutritious. The strategy also assures the people that the food is produced in the light environmental sustainability, and that it is provided in a manner that promotes human dignity (Ontario Public Health Association [OPHA], 2002). In this text, the author focused on issues that envelope the politics of food and food security – the environment, health, and economics.

It is to be noted that these issues are interconnected and tend to overlap each other. Critical Reflections Environmental Balance The highly integrated relationship between man and nature was noted by Karl Linn (2005) in his article, “Reclaiming the Commons. ” He referred to the “commons” as the shared natural environmental resources, e. g. air, water, and land resources. According to Linn (2005), before industrialization, these commons had been freely to be accessed by the local people who sustainably manage them.

Unfortunately, through time, from the feudal lords to the multinational companies, assertion of rights to private property had been the trend. However, unlike the locals, the feudal lords and the multinational companies had plundered the commons and disregarded the idea of protecting the natural resources to come up with as much profit they could get (Anderson, 2002 and Linn, 2005). In response to this, the modern urban life is now geared into several ways to reclaim the commons. They have come up to ways to promote community gardening, backyard gardening, and other greening activities (Linn, 2005, and Jackson, 2004).

Looking at its ecological point of view, it can also be said that environmental balance and food security are closely intertwined because food production is highly sensitive to environmental conditions. Conversely, the land conversion and modifying land terrains of the forests also affects ecology and are major reasons for the declining capability of Earth to provide adequate life support systems. The forests are now converted to plains and plateaus that are to be used for agricultural purposes, e. g. rice fields, to increase yield (Ehrlich et al. , 1993).

Today, the threats to both environmental and food security of the global community is already becoming more evident. Balancing the food security and its environmental toll is very important to sustainably keep up to the demands of the growing human population. A significant decline in human fertility, the development of ecologically sustainable agricultural techniques, as well as encouraging the preservation of Earth’s biodiversity and revision of socioeconomic policies are vital in preventing further deterioration of the Earth’s carrying capacity.

All these changes would therefore be steps in ensuring food security (Ehrlich et al. , 1993). Health Food and nutrition is established to be one most crucial component of public health. Food could serve a vector for various disease pathogens. This fact called for the development of safety standards and guidelines, inspection methods, and laws to ensure food safety. Promotion of educational programs was also done to further the information dissemination. Public education aims to inform people about the significance a balanced nutrition with the ultimate goal of disease prevention.

It has been found in many researches that, indeed, good nutrition is highly correlated to a decrease risk and incidence of chronic diseases. Fortification of food with various vitamins and minerals is now a trend in ensuring the high quality of food supply (Desjardins, 2002). In today’s lifestyle, however, consumers tend to prefer substantially processed and ready to eat foods to the naturally processed kinds. This may be attributed to their busy lifestyles, so they choose to eat foods that are less time consuming to prepare. These foods are also expected to be cheaper than their natural counterparts.

In spite of these advantages, the nutritional value processed foods offer should still be considered. They are reported to have less fiber and still lower nutritional values (Desjardins, 2002). Economics There are several views that suggest factors that make the food security stable. Some sources would say that a food industry enhanced by advanced technology increases stability of food security. Others argue that technology would, instead, create instability (Desjardins, 2002). The differences in opinion may lie on the aspects the various researches look at.

For example, when the United States posed a trade embargo to Cuba, in addition to Cuba’s crumpling market in the USSR, Cuba had found it practically impossible to import advanced technological machineries and chemicals improve their state of agriculture. Without the modern technology, they, however, found repose to organic farming and successfully disprove the myths on its inefficiency (Warwick, 1999). The Cuban showed the world that even in their most trying times, they could emerge victoriously in stabilizing the sources of their food supply.

On the other hand, it is undeniable that highly abundant food supply is mainly the result of advances in the technology. An example of this is the advent of the genetically modified organisms, which produces greater yield. In this perspective, it could be deduced that more technology is the answer to an international problem in food crisis. However, these modern methods are not without criticisms with regards to their effects on local economy and ecology. Personal Reflection

The author believes that it is empirical that everyone should start taking his or her share of the pie towards ensuring food security and ecological sustainability and that no act is too small when it endeavors protecting the environment. For example, patronizing local products is a small step everyone could take as a measure to save the environment. Local produce does not have to be trucked and, hence, decreasing energy consumption needed for the products to be transported to other places. This, in turn, would reduce the carbon footprints of the food the consumers eat.

The idea might be stringent at first considering the limitations it offers but some people like Alicia Smith and James MacKinnan had already successfully gone for an entire year following the one hundred-mile radius diet. They had strictly stuck to buying and eating products produced by local formers and producers (Wiebe, 2006). Lindsey Wiebe (2006) also decided to followed suit but had been more lenient and resolved to limit buying and eating food within the province. She believed that aside from the ecological value of patronizing local produce, it also offers the healthy benefit of eating fresh food (Wiebe, 2006).

In connection to the health aspects of food security, healthy food options are still abundantly available despite growing popularity of processed foods that contain lesser nutritional values (Desjarin, 2002). Consumers should resolve in choosing wisely the food they eat, which directly affects them. Moreover, despite the food industry’s advertisements and promotions, consumers ought to remain vigilant and rational, and reconcile the short term need for sustenance with the long term effects of the quality of the food consumed.

Finally, human instincts to survive and their need for security had proven, once again, to be forceful enough to consider options and find intelligent ways in maximizing the resources available to them. Technology has both its advantages and disadvantages. As intelligent beings, it is up to the people to utilize technology in a way that benefits the society – a great and crucial responsibility bestowed to us. References Anderson, E. (2002). The big stink. THIS Magazine, May/June 2002 issue, 16-18. Desjardins, E. , Roberts, W. , McGibbon, K. , Garrison, L.

, Field, D. , Davids, R. , Stevens, V. , Elliott, G. , Glynn K. (2002). A systematic approach to community food security: a role for public health (OPHA Position Paper). Ontario Public Health Association. Retrieved March 29, 2009, from http://www. opha. on. ca/our_voice/ppres/papers/2002-01_pp. pdf. Ehrlich, P. R. , Ehrlich, A. H. , Daily, G. C. (1993) Food Security, Population, and Environment. Population and Development Review, 19(1), 1. Jackson, R. (2004) The ecovillage movement. Permaculture Magazine, No. 40, 25-30. Retrieved March 29, 2009, from http://gen.

ecovillage. org/iservices/publications/ articles/Ecovillage%20Movement%20PM40. pdf. Lien, M. E. and Nerlich, B. (Eds. ). (2004). The politics of food. Oxford: Berg Publishers. Linn, K. (2005) Reclaiming the commons. New Village Journal. Retrieved March 29, 2009, from http://www. newvillage. net/Journal/Issue1/1sacredcommon. html. Warwick, H. (1999). Cuba’s organic revolution. The Ecologist, 29(8), 457-460. Wiebe, L. (2006). Manitoba tries 100-mile diet. Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved March 29, 2009, from http://100milediet. org/manitoba-tries-100-mile-diet.

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