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Overview: What we eat, along with where we purchase our food, how often we cook, and other aspects of our food consumption, are affected by many factors—personal taste/preference, our upbringing, religious views, budget, time, availability, convenience, cooking ability, and more. As a nation, majority of our food consumed is still domestically produced, however, a growing proportion is imported. In recent decades our tastes and expectations have changed. We like a greater diversity of ethnic foods and we have developed an expectation of being able to acquire out of season produce. This reflects our changing global patterns of food consumption. The intent of this assignment is to encourage you to think more fully about what you are eating, where that food is coming from, what drives your choices, and what the implications of your choices may be for our environment.
Part One: Food Diary
For 48 hours/2 days, record everything you eat. Use the Excel sheet (posted on Canvas), create your own, or use an app and transfer the information later.
Pay attention to food labels, packaging, and stickers on fruit and veg—record the source in your diary.
Once complete, categorise your food based on seven categories:
Fruit
Vegetables
Meat
Non-meat proteins (tofu, legumes, nuts…)
Dairy & Eggs
Grains (breads, pasta, rice…)
Other
In your report you will include two data visualizations—either a pie chart or a bar chart, or similar. One will be based on food category, the other on food origin. See links on Canvas for how to do this in Excel.
You will also submit your Diary. If you tracked things electronically, copy the Excel into your Word document at the end of the document. If you printed off the Excel and did it by hand, either scan or take a photograph and insert this at the end. This must be legible!
Part Two: Food Origins
“Origins” can refer to:
where the food (i.e. apple, banana) was grown and shipped from;
the culture associated with the cuisine (i.e. an Indian curry dish, Japanese sushi);
where the food was developed/domesticated originally.
Identify the origin of each food entry in your diary. Record this in a separate column in your diary.
Create a map highlighting the main countries of origin of your food. This can be hand drawn, traced, or you may use online mapping tools. See links on Canvas.
Create a data visualization—pie chart, bar chart, or similar of your food origin by country or continent.
Food Origins Links:
http://www.foodtimeline.org/ (Links to an external site.)
http://www.gardendigest.com/timegl.htm (Links to an external site.)
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/06/13/481586649/a-map-of-where-your-food-originated-may-surprise-you
Map Links: Note: These are just some helpful links. Use whatever method you want.
Hand drawn: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Map (Links to an external site.)
Google MyMaps: https://www.google.ca/maps/about/mymaps/ (Links to an external site.)
ArcGIS (on all library computers): https://learn.arcgis.com/en/projects/get-started-with-map-viewer/arcgis-online/lessons/create-a-map.htm
Part Three: Your Food’s Footprint
Using the BBC’s “Climate change food calculator,” calculate the ecological footprint for 10 individual food items on your diary. Aim for a diversity, such as some fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Access the calculator: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46459714 Links to an external site..
Create a table with one row for each item. Report in individual columns:
Greenhouse gas emissions (in KGs)
Equivalent miles/KM
Litres of water used
Part Four: Compiling your report
Your report will include written responses to questions, your data visualizations (tables, pie charts, bar charts, etc)., your map, and your diary.
Write a 750 word/three-page double-spaced report responding to these questions:
Reflect on your diary:
Did these two days reflect your typical eating habits?
Were you surprised by your choices—too much/too little, more processed/less processed then expected, more global/local than you expected…. ?
What did you learn about your habits?
How does your own diary/choices compare to the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide? https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/ Links to an external site.
Where does your food come from? Pick a few examples and discuss the origins of these.
How global is your diet? Do you eat primarily domestic or imported?
Discuss your Food Footprint results. Were you surprised at the greenhouse gas emissions or comparable miles/kilometers of your food choices? Will this impact your decisions around food?
Government Documents:
“Food in Canada” https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/16-201-x/2009000/part-partie1-eng.htm (Links to an external site.)
“Supply and Disposition of Food in Canada” https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3210005301 (Links to an external site.)
“Detailed Food Spending” https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1110012501 (Links to an external site.)
“Food Availability” https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180530/dq180530c-eng.htm (Links to an external site.)
“Overview of Canada’s Eating Habits – 2004” (dated but interesting) http://publications.gc.ca/Collection/Statcan/82-620-M/82-620-MIE2006002.pdf (Links to an external site.)
“Food and Nutrition” (Links) https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition.html
Media:
CBC Historical Analysis of Canadian Food Consumption: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/canada-food-trends-1.4742309

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