Essay: Borderless Society on Food

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[. . .] (p. 34) suggest it is even nonexistent when they claim that "the distance from which [North Americans'] food comes represents their separation from the knowledge of how and by whom what they consume is produced, processed, and transported," but in reality food is possibly the easiest way for people from different cultures to relate to each other.

The benefits of a global market come not just from the availability of foods from far-flung places, but from the way in which the global market allows for the transmission of culture alongside those foods by making certain ethnic or regional dishes easier to prepare and taste. Just as the Internet has a democratizing effect on global society by breaking down the artificial barriers between peoples, so too does the global market allow for a freer transmission of culture unrestricted by geography or national ideology over the long-term. Of course, for the global food market to be truly democratizing and consciousness-raising in the same way as the online global idea market, the regions from which this food is sourced must be treated with respect and ecological awareness, a necessity that thus far has not been met. Thus, the cultural awareness provided to consumers of these globally sourced foods is truncated and sometimes illusory; while someone able to eat fresh plantains sourced from South America may broaden his or her cultural horizons by trying a new food, he or she only does so in the most cursory and abstract fashion, with little consideration for the actual living people who grew and harvested those plantains.

The benefits of the global food market mentioned above are largely restricted to those on the receiving end, because although farmers and ranchers obviously benefit from access to a much larger market in which to sell their goods, the truth is that the global food market has been monopolized by a few massive corporations such that many smaller farmers in the countries of origin see very little of the windfall profits produced by the global market. This is the true danger of the distance between the consumer of globally sourced food and the producer discussed by Kloppenburg et al., because the consumer may be contributing to the devastation of small farms and the surrounding environment while having very little real knowledge of that destruction, shrouded as it is by the machinations of the global market. In addition, the previously contribution of the global shipping system to continuing climate change poses a very real threat not only to the planet in general but to global food supplies as a whole, seen most recently in the fires in Russia and flooding in Pakistan which led to massive crop failures and increased food prices. In effect, by creating massive amounts of pollution in order to source food from all over the globe the global food market is actually hastening its own demise (or at least, the demise of the system as it currently exists).

The phrase "Think Globally, Act Locally" perfectly sums up the proper response to the global food market, because it suggests that the only way to produce a truly sustainable global food market is to first ensure that foods are produced and sold locally and in an environmentally healthy manner. This is the first step, because it will help to decrease the profitability of wastefully shipping tons of food across the globe, forcing global food importers and exporters to seek cleaner, more sustainable ways of transmitting their wares to different countries. Thus, while so-called "locavore" eating habits will not actually stop or destroy the global food market, they can serve to encourage global corporations to find more sustainable methods of harvesting and shipping food. With this in mind, the research conducted for this study has led the author to attempt a shift in eating and purchasing habits, if only because the extra effort required to seek out sustainable and local foods is dwarfed by societal and ecological benefits.

Works Cited

Local-food movement: the lure of the 100-mile diet. (2006, June 11). Time, Retrieved from,9171,1200783,00.html

Kloppenburg, J, Hendrickson, J, & Stevenson, G.W. (1996). Coming in to the foodshed. Agriculture and Human Value,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Borderless Society on Food.  (2011, July 19).  Retrieved August 23, 2019, from

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"Borderless Society on Food."  19 July 2011.  Web.  23 August 2019. <>.

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"Borderless Society on Food."  July 19, 2011.  Accessed August 23, 2019.