Bloomington food in 2020
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Food is one of the subsystems that in Bloomington city that has numerous unexplored and underexplored opportunities that need to be researched on so as to live more sustainably in future. Food sustainability is about access to health food, low waste generation, sustainable farming practices and regional orientation. Due to many health complications related to eating habits, Bloomington will need to consider the benefits exploring sustainable agricultural food production and consider befits of local recipes (McWhorter, N.P).The main aim of this paper is to will describe the desirable community development in food in Bloomington, Indiana as of the year 2020, and how it got that way.
1. Description of Bloomington’s Food Subsystem in the Year 2020
In Bloomington, sustainable food subsystem in 2020 has been achieved through a collaboration of many types of stakeholders. The achievements are based on the individual choices the people of Bloomington make between 2012 and 2020. Although there is no ‘right’ way to eat, the purchasing and the eating habits of the city’s inhabitants have great sustainability impacts. Knowing where the food one eats comes from or what it costs the environment to produce food is one of the pathways towards sustainable food development (Food: Living Sustainably, n.p).
Most of the food consumed in Bloomington is sustainably comes from local agricultural and fishing activities by farmers locally. There are farms with a potential to meet the fresh, un-cut and whole food demand of Bloomington city such as Homestead Growers, Local Indiana Food Enterprises (LIFE) and Melody Acres. Beef, chicken, Potatoes, soybeans/tofu, apples and milk are all supplied by the farms into the markets through vendors who have to bids for an item (McWhorter, n.p).
In Food production is also mainly from farming and processing in local industries. Season-specific garden tasks are done by volunteers such as SPROUTS during the workdays and what is grown is shared among them. Both experienced and novice gardeners enhance sustainable food production by pooling their knowledge. The Sustainable Food Working Group ensures consumption of grown and raised food is close consumers; the growth of crops is done in a way that promotes the health of the city (McWhorter, N.P). Bloomington affords to avail into the market food which is not necessarily season such as fruits and vegetables which are grown locally and not imported (Food: Living Sustainably, n.d.).
Food consumed is of the best quality due to emphasis on improved production and consumption methods. In the farmers’ market local food is directly purchased from farmers during which an opportunity is provided to ask questions regarding the quality of the products. Below is an illustration of locally produced and packed vegetable to be availed in the grocery.
Since food consumed locally is generally locally produced, almost households have access to health, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. The seasonal produce normally purchased from the local market provides an opportunity to have a taste of new foods and seasonal recipes. Also available in the market are organic foods which are grown without using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This is a new technological process that does not have any negative impact to health of farm workers, the soil and the consumers. The soils remains healthier capable of sustaining crops for several generations. The government has set limits for allowable residue of pesticide that is thought to be safe and this standard is supposed to be met by all groceries (Food: Living Sustainably, n.p.).
In order to reduce environmental damage in the course of raising animals for meat, the Bloomington community is challenged to eat meat only on special occasions or join the Meatless Mondays. As a result of proper pastoral management, meat is now bought locally and therefore the consumers are assured of the safety of the meat. The Bloomington and Indiana people have an exciting opportunity of adopting the vegan diet vegetarian diet which is the food lower in the food chain. The benefits of this diet are not only in promoting health but also on quality and efficient production of energy by the body. he illustration below shows a sample of a vegetarian diet available in the Bloomington market groceries (Food: Living Sustainably, N.d).
The wealth of community food resources and global dining is celebrated and supported by Local Food Bloomington Directory (LFBD) and Indiana. It provides information on resources of the community, where to eat and directly applying topics on why and how eating is done. Herbal syrup, coffee jelly and wine jelly are examples of the thirty three blends are certified organic with inclusive of spice and seasoning blends (Bloomington Community Farmers' Market, n.p.).
The Bloomington community benefits from the knowledge of food waste composting and transport. Food waste management has been reduced through purchase of locally produced and grown items and reuse of food waste which reduces the stress of managing a landfill. Therefore compostable food waste from kitchens and cafeteria is collected daily and transported to a central compost site where it is processed to form humus after the composting process is complete (Indiana University Office of Sustainability 2020 Vision n.p). Surplus food hardly goes to waste since it is either recycled or given as a donation to local food banks (McWhorter, n.p).
Environmental protection starts by the awareness of the consumers that food waste disposed in the landfills contributes to climate change since it releases methane gas after its decomposition. Being aware of one’s consumer behavior will prevent the production of this heat trapping gas and therefore protecting the environment. Since more food is grown locally, environmental damage that may result from shipping from many miles is minimized or eliminated. Industrial meat production also degrades the environment heavily such as through a higher use of water and consumption of land inform of grazing. The hamburger requires large quantities of water to grow. There are now measures in place these impacts through reducing meat consumption and thus contribute to reduced environmental exploitation (Food: Living Sustainably, n.d).
2. How things got that way
The development process of the community was based on the incredibly enlisted diverse expertise range provided by local universities and community for sustainable development. The community identified education and outreach, resource use & recycling, green building, environmental equality, transportation and travel, food and gardening as well as health and wellness as the key areas that would have enhanced sustainable food development in 2020 (McWhorter, N.P). Through the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) initiative of “A 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment” ashared a vision was shared and a consensus that called for action on how food needed for the future world may have been met and at the same time protect the environment and reduce poverty. The government of Bloomington saw the need to invite donors like Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Canadian International Development Agency and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
It required the consolidation of collective action (involvement of more individual contributing to an effort for an outcome to be achieved) institutions; property rights systems, natural resource management had a great implication on the level of technology adopted, food production and environmental sustainability. Below is an illustration showing how natural resource management and agricultural technologies application were affected by collective action and property rights.
From the diagram, it can be seen that on-farm conventional technologies such as improved, high- yielding crop varieties (HYVs) had a small partial scale which is usually a single plot and a short, normally seasonal, time horizon. These were adopted by a single farmer or a tenant. Other technologies applied required longer time horizons from the time they are adopted and their payoffs.
Collective action played an important role in increasing food security through planting and harvesting food together, maintaining their local irrigation system, using a communal facility to market what they have produced or deeciding the rules that enable proper management of all the above aspects. Through enhancing to ensure even allotment of plots which are relatively small, women are allowed to grow gardens to increase food security. The strengthening of farmers rights on use and management of land increased their abilities of to grow crops of different varieties. Different agro forestry systems were developed which helped to provide green manure, enhanced soil conservation and provided fodder for animals. Agro forestry had many agricultural and environmental benefits such as reduction of soil erosion and the joint fencing of lands for biodiversity and management of water.
Through improvement of technological developments, establishment of demographic changes and national agricultural policies as well as favorable cultural and social factors have contributed greatly to conservation of biodiversity in the wild and cultivated which has also reduced the vulnerability of plants to pests and disease. These measures have also improved nutrition through diversification of food varieties available, increased plant capacity to adapt to the constantly changing conditions and encouraged gain of more knowledge on food diversity. Consequently, food security has increased and made agricultural production systems more sustainable.
The government supported the agricultural production through building, repairing irrigation systems and providing staff to manage them. To motivate water users to take over responsibility management and financing responsibilities, it transferred the authority of governing the irrigation systems to water users. This was a strategic reform towards sustainable agricultural practice and hence food security. The government played role in the co-management and hence ensured reduction of overfishing and also countered fishing methods deemed destructive. The government recognized pastoral communities’ right in operating grazing networks. The users were not given the right reallocate land used by community members for alternative activities such as cropping, thus preventing a situation that would have limited the pastoralists’ capacity to respond appropriately to local conditions. State ownership, therefore, fostered conflicts resulting from land use and collective action breakdown both inside and across different pastoral groups. Pastoralist activities are important in meat and milk production which enabled achievement food security in Bloomington and Indiana (Meinzen-Dick & Gregorio, n.p).
Waste is harmful to the environment in different ways. There was a great need to develop waste management methods such as landfills, composting, recycling and reuse and recycling as an effort to protect the environment. Indiana University managed to deviate 40% of the waste sent to the landfills through a hoosier-to-hoosier program. Some communities which implemented pay- as- you- throw programs; residents were charged municipal solid waste collection in relation to the amount of waste they throw away. Recycling and waste reduction translated to a reduction in the rate of natural resource extraction, for instance, recycling of animal waste in production of biogas and hence reducing extraction of petroleum products decreased (Pay-As-You-Throw Programs, n.p.). For sustainable living, food wastage was reduced and options of altering the purchasers’ choices at the grocery are also available (Food: Living Sustainably, n.p.).
Bloomington managed to meet its vision 2020 of sustainable food production, enhanced quality and reduced wastage. This has been achieved through measures ranging from application of recent technological development in production, conservation of biodiversity, collective action, government support through incentives, proper management of irrigation systems waste management and also curbing corruption and abuse of food resources. Reduction of food waste is one of the achievements in Bloomington through encouraging use or reuse of food produced locally and donating it when in surplus. Vegetarian and vegan are the diet of choice since they provide more energy to the body and do not contribute to degradation of the environment as in the case of meat diet. However, agricultural practices now encourage growth of crops without the use of fertilizers and pesticides
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