Posts Tagged ‘ ecological footprint ’

Lab Meat Burgers

As eating real animal meat becomes more and more unsustainable, scientists are turning their labs into food laboratories. CNN did a report on a lab-grown meat. Note that this meat was grown from real cow cells. One burger cost about $300,000. The lab meat has no fat — this affects its taste. And it only looks like meat due to added food coloring — lab meat is white! Yam!

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2013/08/05/rivers-serving-up-stem-cell-burger.cnn.html

FDA Nutrition Labels are Getting Makeovers

“The Food and Drug Administration says that updating nutrition labels is a priority this year, although it’s unclear when the labels will change.”

FDA food labels

Getting information from food labels was one of the problems we’ve identified at the start of this project. It would be great to find out where the food comes from — how far did it have to travel? How was it produced? What was the eco footprint for the food we are consuming? We need to be able to make better choices at our local supermarkets. But to do that, we need good information.

Follow the Frog

Early on in our project, we considered making a “follow the chicken” stamp of approval aka Eco-Footprint Tracker — it you buy food with a chicken stamp on it, it was produced well, in a sustainable manner that didn’t hurt the environment.

Today, we saw “Follow the Frog” ad that summed up our idea. So follow the FROG!

Origins of Food — Tracking Food Fraud

There’s an article on BBC: Food Fraud Tackled by Forensic Scientists by Anna-Louise Taylor.

Wine, spirits, meat and even baby food can all be faked, with fraudsters hiding their true origins. Now forensic scientists are clamping down on food fraud, which costs millions in lost revenue and can put the health and safety of the public at risk.

We noticed from looking at the Cost of Chicken crowdmap, that most people who post the information don’t know where their food comes from! This is a problem if we want to understand the quality of our food and minimize the ecological footprint by making good decisions at the supermarket. This is why we thought of creating a smart phone app that would help decode this information.

The True Cost of Food by the Sierra Club

We just came across this project by the Sierra Club: The True Cost of Food! Sounds familiar? It did to us! Here’s what they have to say:

The Sierra Club Sustainable Consumption Committee Mission: To encourage people to think about the environmental impacts of their consumption choices by providing specific information.

SOME SOLUTIONS:

  • Eat more vegetables, fruit, and grains and less meat. Look for meat that is produced in the least harmful way—grass fed, organic, antibiotic- and hormone-free.
  • Buy organic whenever you can.
  • Buy from small, local sources whenever you can.

They also have a nice video. Check them out! And we hope they look at our project as well.

Wasted Food

There was an amazing article on CNN today: Moldy matters: How wasted food is destroying the environment.

A third of all food products worldwide go uneaten! — from a 2011 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report

We’ve been collecting data on the food people buy, but it is equally important to keep track of the food people waste! Please read!

Also, we’ve entered the data in the article into our Crowdmap: https://costofchicken.crowdmap.com/

Food for Thought: Sustainability from Counter to Compost

Just watched this video — how appropriate is this? Here’s the description from YouTube:

Food for Thought: Sustainability from Counter to Compost – Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming – 2008-02-26 – The usual reaction to scarfing down a slice of pizza is: how will this affect my diet? The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and more and more Americans, now look at the food we all eat and ask: how does this affect our world’s carbon diet? Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and the Select Committee began looking into the process and choices our nation makes regarding food and agriculture and how those choices affect our environment, specifically the “carbon footprint” of how we grow, raise, transport, package, dispose of and otherwise provide sustenance to Americans and people around the world. And while changing the way the world creates and consumes energy is the most effective way to combat global warming, so-called “lifestyle” choices like the food we eat will play an increasing role in how to make immediate cuts in the pollution that causes global warming. Witnesses: Dan Beard, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), House of Representatives; Carina Wong, Executive Director, Chez Panisse Foundation; Patricia D. Millner, Ph.D, Research Microbiologist in the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory and Environmental Microbial Systems Laboratory, USDA; Tom Kelly, Ph.D., Chief Sustainability Officer, University of New Hampshire Office of Sustainability. Video provided by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Cost of Chicken Video

So here it is: The Cost of Chicken video! This is our 2 minute video submission to the EDF Sustainable Design Challenge. All the kids you see in this video worked hard to make this project happen!

Cost of Chicken App Idea

So we’ve started the design of our Cost of Chicken App: Eco-Footprint Tracker. (We’re still working out the name.)

It would work something like this:

  1. Work with food producers to place QR Codes on their products. Each code provides a URL with information on the true cost of food: how far it has been trucked to be available locally; how long it has been stored (e.g. apples are stored for months prior to being delivered to supermarkets); how much energy it took to produce the food; and how much the packaging costs. Distance, production and manufacturing, storage, and marketing are all factors that contribute to the total expenditure of our planet’s resources.
  2. Once we have the QR codes, we can quickly add up all of the groceries that are being purchased and generate an approximate size of the eco-footprint for that consumer for that day.
  3. Each person (or family) could have an account that tracks all of their food purchases. This data could be graphed (or displayed in other ways) to allow people to visualize their choices in terms of the ecological consequences.

The app could work even without the QR Codes: a consumer can just enter the type of food they bought, and the app calculates the approximate eco-footprint.

It could look something like this:
QR code tracks the cost of chicken to generate eco-footprint