Water Resources, Water Pollution, and Agriculture
Assignment 6: Food Production
Most people buy groceries from their local grocery store or supermarket, which today offers a wide selection of processed, commercial foods, and possibly organic or natural foods. In order for a wide selection of fruits and vegetables to be available to the public, produce is imported from other states or countries and kept as fresh and “presentable” as possible through a variety of commercial methods such as chemical additives, refrigeration, or early picking. Your protein selections have also been commercialized so that shelves can stay stocked, helping to keep up with the demand for meat and eggs. You may not be aware of what goes into providing the selection of food you buy at the grocery store. This Assignment will help you investigate the different processes of producing meat and produce for human consumption.
Questions about this assignment? Post them in the Ask the Instructor area under Course Home. That way, everyone in the class will see and benefit from the Instructor’s response.
To prepare for this Assignment:
• Review Chapter 10 in the course text, Environmental Science.
• Research different methods of commercial and natural/organic production for one protein and one produce item, selected from the following table. Use Internet sources to determine the chemicals, processes, and use of natural resources used to produce these foods and bring them to market.
• Consider the impact that chemical fertilizers, often used in produce production, have on human health as well as on the environment.
• Reflect on how you feel about growth hormones or antibiotics being used on animals that you may later consume.
Choose any protein item: such as chicken or egg or beef or fish AND any one produce: such as apples or bananas or strawberries, that you regularly buy at the grocery store and compose a 2-page essay in which you analyze the effect of pesticides, herbicides, and hazardous wastes on human health. Your essay should include the following:
• A summary of your findings for the commercial and natural/organic production of the protein and produce items you chose to research
• A comparison of the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides with natural methods of production, based on your research. Analyze what impact each of these methods may have on human nutrition, human health, and the environment.
• Suggestions you would make on a local or national scale for dealing with the health and environmental issues associated with this impact
• A conclusion that reflects on what changes you might reasonably make when buying groceries after completing your research. If you would not change anything, what are the driving factors that influenced your decision?