Workshop: The True Cost of a Pizza: A Foodprint Analysis
The food we eat has an incredible impact on the planet. From production, to energy use, to embodied water, processing, and transportation, how we eat literally changes the world. From an environmental standpoint agriculture is one of the most impactful activities humans engage in. Once the ultimate solar economy and a net carbon sink, globally agriculture accounts for 70% of all freshwater usage, is currently responsible for 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions and is a key driver of habitat and biodiversity loss.
This presentation takes students on a journey through the food system by tracing the story of a common, highly-processed staple of kid cuisine: pizza. By tracing the different aspects of energy use, transportation, water use, and other environmental impacts, this activity will provide an introduction to the concept of a “foodprint.” This term refers to the hidden costs associated with the entire process of food production from field to fork. Finally, after students understand the concept of a foodprint, we will briefly cover the implications of this on understanding food waste. Did you know that approximately 1/3 of the food fit for human consumption is wasted globally? In Canada, a staggering $31 billion worth of food is lost through the food chain, with 47% or $14.6 billion generated in the home (2014). With related costs such as labour and energy, the estimated true cost of food waste is $107 billion! Food waste occurs along each step of the food chain for many reasons from overproduction, unharvested “imperfect” crops, improper storage and handling, excessive serving portions, to confusion over food labels. Each stage contributes to this problem, but every stage can benefit from creative solutions. By connecting the idea of foodprints to food waste, students will be encouraged to consider the impact of their actions by conducting a garbage audit at home or at school. The presentation can be tailored to fit a wide range of topics: from sustainability, to climate change, water use, and biodiversity.