Essay on Agriculture and Sustainable Food Consumption

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Sustainable Food Consumption in Canada:
Is Local Food the Answer?

Laura Schaefli
GPHY 101

Threats to Food Security

• Food safety
• Exportation
• Oil dependency

• Industrialized farming
• Climate change

Sustainable Consumption

Social Equity
and Human


United Nations Environment Program (modified)

Where Canadian Crops Go

Kissinger and Rees 2009

Canadian Percent Land Use for Food

Exports as a share of total Canadian production
(Kissinger and Rees 2009)

Statistics Canada 2006

What do we mean
by ‘local’?

Reductions in Transport Emissions
o Not many studies in Canada compare

international and local food transport
oThough most existing

studies agree that shifting
consumption to locally based foods would reduce
transport emissions (Lynch et al. 2011)

o The problem: agricultural production is not
uniform in Canada

Is Transportation Really the Problem?

o International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): production is
the most energy-intensive part of agriculture
o Elimination of natural biodiversity
o Genetic monoculture

o High fertilizer and pesticide use

Confused flour beetle

Monoculture: Cavendish bananas


The Environmental Impacts of Fertilizer

The Environmental Impacts of Pesticides
o Certain widely used pesticides are known to cause
neurological and developmental damage in fish
(Environment Canada 2011)
o Pesticides are also suspected of contributing to
massive bee declines (colony collapse disorder)

o Some science links pesticides with human health
problems too e.g. Cessna et al. 2005

The Problem of Scale: Alternative
Methods of Production and Harvest
o Large scale production and economies of scale
o Perhaps need a different relationship with the
o Organic pest controls
o Crop rotation…