Food: The Untapped Tool with World-wide Impact

Katie Bassett, Contributing Writer

Every part of your body is made out of food.  All of the energy you use to think, walk, talk read and even digest comes from the food you eat.  Without food, we would not be here.  Period.  Yet the majority of people lack a true understanding of food and how it is intertwined in every aspect of our world.

The World Food Program explains that the average person needs to eat 2,100 calories every day to maintain their health.  In America, 63-76% of our calories come from store-bought food and 17-26% of our food comes from restaurants according to Food Navigator USA.  

The point is, consumers like us don’t see the impact food has on people, animals or our planet because the majority of us don’t know how our food was produced, we don’t see where our food is grown or  who played a part in making the food.

Food has a farther reaching influence than anything else on earth. According to National Geographic, more than 40% of the world’s land is used for agriculture.  With so much physical space being occupied by the production of food, food touches every aspect of life whether it be social, environmental, religious, cultural, health or art, just to name a few.  

Because of its wide spread impact, food is an exceptional way to carry out your beliefs, opinions, and ideas.

In the age of the Internet, we have easy access to nearly unlimited information and this includes information about our food.  As a consumer, this tool gives us the amazing opportunity to pick and choose exactly what we want to eat based on what causes we believe in and what causes we don’t support.  

Eating with your beliefs is as simple as Googling a question on GMO’s, animal rights, humanitarian efforts or any other cause.  This simple effort will allow you, the consumer, to see exactly how the cause affects our food or how our food affects the cause.  After this, you decide what you want to act on, you commit to the idea, you go to the store, buy the food and eat.

The diet change can be as simple or challenging as you want to make it, but some changes may require meals to be cooked at home, a venture that many don’t have the time for.

In addition to this, more money may be required to support your diet change.  The organization, Compassion in World Farming, explains that, for example, free-range pork costs about 8 cents more per pound to produce than the typical industrial scale pork farming.

Any way you look at it, you have to eat.  Putting in the extra effort or money into your meals can lead not only to a better world, but also to a more fulfilling lifestyle.  Sande Nosonowitz, vegan coach and educator, explains that for her, “veganism is a salve for the soul.”  

Our food plays a huge part in the lives of all 7.3 billion people on our planet. With such a huge intake, our food has a massive impact on our world.  No matter what causes you support, whether it be social, environmental, humanitarian, religious, health-based, animal-focused or anything else, food likely plays a significant role in that cause.  

It is up to you, the consumer of food, to know what you want, stand by your beliefs and carry them out through what you eat.

Together, it is possible to eat our way to a better world.