Foodprint, Where's that Food in my Plate Coming From

At Greener Gadgets 2010, the conversation repeatedly came back to awareness of what we consume and our assumptions as to what our best choices might be.

We don't usually sit down to analyze what's involved in producing the food, energy, gadgets, furniture, and clothes we purchase. Add to that where it comes from and how it reaches us.

High impact, low impact, sometimes trying to do the right thing can make your head spin.

Leonardo of Sourcemap cited business cards as an example where smaller Moo cards would be a better choice than larger ones made with recycled paper.

For food, there is an ongoing debate as to which types of food are more 'earth friendly'.

Are you a better person if you eat vegetarian?

Jackie Mirandola Mullen looks at the broader picture in Sourcing food to save water (The Observer, Notre Dame, February 22).

She notes that "we micro-eat rather than macro-eat. Countless Web sites and products divulge calories, fat, protein, vitamins, etc. in most foods that are sold in stores, but try searching where the ingredients of those products come from and only a few recent documentaries show up. What are we eating?"

The winner of Design Contest at Greener Gadgets 2010, a Mobile Application named AUG (Augmented Living Goods) gives some answers to these questions.

The Living Goods program wants to 'encourage the localization of produce, meats and dairy' thanks to barcodes (illustration below from Greener Gadgets program).

A step in the right direction, AUG does not address the issue of gas emitted by animals, grazing impact, water use and related issues as far as I know.

This is still a work in progress so they might add some of these details when the application is released to the public.

All these elements form what some call our 'Foodprint'.

Susan Lang in Diet for small planet may be most efficient if it includes dairy and a little meat (Cornell Chronicle, October 07) mentions a survey of New York State's agricultural footprint that shows that answers are not always what we expect (see graph below, from Chronicle's piece).


Depending on your location, local weather, water supplies, farmland and so on, results could vary widely.

Mindfulness in food choices on the menu of Green Day # 117

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