Food isn’t what it used to be. Peter Manley says its time to green up your eats.
The range of foods available today in the developed world spans a nutritional spectrum from organic, vegan, vegetarian and locally produced to mass-produced foods in which the motivation for profit outstrips the need for nutritional value. Where we choose to dine on this spectrum may well be dictated by price and perhaps health considerations, but oft overlooked is the environmental cost. Just how did something as fundamental as food come to have such flawed environmental impacts?
Historian and geographer Jared Diamond1 proposed in 1987 that the advent of agriculture resulted in the elite becoming better off, while in contrast most people became worse off. Prior to this mankind lived as hunter-gatherers obtaining food by foraging, collecting wild plants and hunting wild animals. The undeniable consequences of agriculture and the domestication of animals were higher populations living in greater density and eating a less nutritious diet.
With the arrival of farming came the economics of food and the resulting social stratification. Those farmers who could grow excess crops, could trade their surplus and accumulate wealth. Farmed land could support