We often take for granted how food gets to our plate. With the amount of statistics and facts around world hunger, we don’t always think about the process of farming and what’s involved to make sure that everyone has enough to eat.
Truths about the food industry without farmers
There are many truths about the food industry that people don’t know about. For example, most grocery stores like Walmart and Whole Foods have very few of their own farms. The stores contract with third party farmers to supply the produce and meat they sell. However, this makes the grocery store more susceptible to natural disasters and can make prices fluctuate without warning. Additionally, Walmart is one of the top 10 employers in America and employs more than 2 million people. Although Walmart is considered a large employer, it falls behind McDonald’s in number of employees. Also, Kroger is one of the largest companies in America, operating over 2,500 supermarkets under different names.
What are the pros and cons of grocery stores? The positives of grocery stores are that it makes shopping more convenient and allows you to do other things while shopping like chat with friends or listen to music. In addition, grocery store’s competition allows them to offer lower prices than even Wal- Mart. The cons to grocery stores are that some people feel uncomfortable about being watched by cameras, the long lines, and the rude employees. Another issue is that you have to buy everything in separate trips because it takes too long to get your items if you try to buy them all at one time.
The real cost of food
- Without farmers, the world would need almost four times as much land to grow its food to feed everyone.
- In most places, a family of five would need to spend 40% or more of their income on food alone.
- The average distance food travels from farm to table is 1,400 miles, and some foods travel even farther than that.
- Ninety percent of fresh water consumed in the United States goes towards irrigation for growing crops and raising animals for meat and dairy products.
- Roughly half of the world’s population is capable of eating meat, fish or seafood every day, whereas many in Western countries eat meat and/or fish only a few times a week.
- The amount of water used to produce one pound of wheat is equal to that used to flush six gallons of water down the toilet.*
- A third of the food produced worldwide is never eaten.
- On average, Americans eat more than 300 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables a year, while the global average is less than 100 pounds per person. * 1 pound of wheat requires 34 gallons of water; so to wash six gallons of water down the toilet, it takes 296 pounds.
- To produce one hamburger in the United States, you need to use 660 gallons of water.
- If every American skipped just one meal of chicken per week and substituted beans for that chicken, we would save enough energy to light all the homes in New York City for an entire year.
- If every American skipped just one meal of beef per week and substituted beans for that beef, we would save enough energy to light all the homes in New York City for an entire year.
- Every day, Americans throw away 2 billion plastic water bottles, which is enough bottles to reach from the Earth to the moon twice.
- Plastic bags take 1,000 years to degrade; 50 percent of all seabirds and 80 percent of sea turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs.
- It’s estimated that 150 million sharks are killed by humans each year, primarily for shark-fin soup.
- In the past 50 years, 90 percent of large fish in the oceans have been removed from the sea.
- Every year, people in rich countries throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet—yet we put out a call for 5 billion new aluminum cans every year.
- While the global middle class is expected to double by 2030, the number of poor people is also predicted to grow. In 2100, it’s estimated that 9 billion people will live on Earth; assuming current trends continue, our planet will be able to support only 6 billion.
- Textiles make up about 15 percent of all garbage in landfills in rich countries—and a whopping 60 percent in poor countries.
- The average American throws out 70 pounds of clothing per year and each piece is used for an average of two months.
- More than 700,000 pieces of debris are floating in space right now—that’s about the same as if all 7 billion people on Earth threw out one 13-inch TV every year.
- The global watch industry generates about $60 million worth of e-waste annually; the U.S., Japan, and Italy produce more than half of it, despite only having 9 percent of the world’s population.
- In 2012, the world’s largest electronics exporter was Hong Kong, responsible for shipping out some $210 million in e-waste. But China and the United States shipped more than twice as much (more than $500 million each), according to e-Stewards, an online certification program that tracks which countries ship the most hazardous waste.
- Six of the top 10 global exporters are European Union member states; they collectively shipped around $1 billion worth of e-waste in 2012.
What happens to milk after a cow is milked?
Dairies sometimes use a process called “re-milking” to get the cows to produce more milk. This is done by using a machine that injects air into the cow’s udder. The air inflates the udder, which means that it can produce more milk with each milking.
Where does bacon come from?
It would be easy to assume that bacon comes from a pig, but it actually is made from the meat of a pork belly. The meat is layered with fat, salt, and spices before it is cured and smoked.
With only one-third of the world’s population being employed in agriculture, we need to be careful about our food sources. However, there are five little-known facts that might change your mind. The first is that there are farms all over the world, so even if one type of crop isn’t grown in a particular region, it may be grown somewhere else. Second, not every farm relies on animals for its crops; some rely solely on plants. Third, a small farm can produce enough food to serve an entire community. Fourth, most of the time a farmer will grow more than just one type of crop because different types ripen at different times. Lastly and fifth, not all farmers rely on chemical fertilizers to maintain their crops.