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AHS Slides_Matt Metzgar
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AHS Slides_Matt Metzgar AHS Slides_Matt Metzgar Presentation Transcript

  • Sustainability of Paleolithic Diets: Development of A Sustainable Food Index
    Matt Metzgar, PhD
    University of North Carolina Charlotte
  • The Rise of Agriculture
    Humans existed as hunter-gatherers for millions of years
    Consumed a wild diet of seafood, meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts
    The advent of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago led to increased food supply and a population explosion
    What type of food production systems are sustainable in the long run?
  • Definitions
    Agriculture: The science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products.
    Externality: A side effect or consequence of an industrial or commercial activity that affects other parties without this being reflected in the cost of the goods or services involved, such as the pollination of surrounding crops by bees kept for honey.
  • Agriculture: Negative Externalities
    Agriculture creates damage to the environment and human health via:
    Water pollution from pesticides, nitrate, etc.
    Air pollution from methane, ammonia, etc.
    Soil damage from erosion and carbon dioxide losses
    Loss of biodiversity and wildlife
    Damage to human health from antibiotic resistance, viral outbreaks, etc.
    Pretty et al 2001 estimated the total negative externalities from U.S. agriculture to be $3.8 billion
  • Economic Approach to Externalities
    Private costs of production are different than social costs
    Social costs = private costs + external costs
    External costs (externalities) include negatives such as pollution
    Policy goal: get parties to “internalize the externality”, that is, include all costs when producing a good or service
    Set social marginal benefit = social marginal cost to determine socially optimal level of production
  • Pollution and the social optimum
    Price of
    Social cost (private cost
    and external cost)
    (private cost)
    Quantity of Good
    (private value)
    In the presence of a negative externality, such as pollution, the social cost of the good exceeds the private cost. The optimal quantity, QOPTIMUM, is therefore smaller than the equilibrium quantity, QMARKET.
  • Issues With Externalities
    Dollar value of some items, such as biodiversity for example, is unknown or is difficult to calculate
    Costs and benefits to future generations should be included as well
    Technically, it is present value of marginal costs = present value of marginal benefits
    This leads to further complications such as choosing a discount rate and time horizon
    Dewan (2008) suggests using a sustainability index instead of a cost-benefit analysis for long-run sustainability
  • Sustainable Food Index
    Focus on principles of sustainable food production and consumption rather than trying to calculate exact damages
    Model background: hunter-gatherer foraging and consumption patterns were mostly sustainable for millions of years
    Create a simple index that could have real-world application
    A “Sustainable Food Index” could help producers and consumers make better choices and avoid negative externalities
  • Principles of Sustainable FoodProduction & Consumption
  • Principle #1: Indigenous Foods
    Produce foods that are indigenous to a geographical area
    Example: Blueberries are indigenous to the United States
    Negative externalities created when principle is violated: non-native plants may create more soil erosion and may require chemical treatments to grow
  • Principle #2: Wild Foods
    Harvest foods that are wild instead of farmed
    Example: Wild apples from the forest or wild game
    Negative externalities created when principle is violated: Farmed foods can require clear-cutting and loss of biodiversity. “Uni” crops often create the need for chemical pest control. Farmed foods have lower antioxidant and nutrient value than wild foods.
  • Principle #3: Organic Foods
    Consume organic foods
    Example: Organic fruits, vegetables, and meats
    Negative externalities created when principle is violated: Pesticide use causes damage to water systems and to human health.
  • Principle #4: In-Season Foods
    Consume foods that are grown in-season
    Example: Seasonal fruits
    Negative externalities created when principle is violated: Use of fossil fuels (and the associated pollution) to create environments for foods to grow out of season.
  • Principle #5: Local Foods
    Consume local foods
    Example: Foods from a garden or a local farmers market
    Negative externalities created when principle is violated: Pollution from cargo ships and trucks to transport food.
  • Principle #6: Whole Foods
    Consume whole “one-ingredient” foods
    Example: apples, carrots, chicken, etc.
    Negative externalities created when principle is violated: Damage to human health from processed foods.
  • Principle #7: Fresh Foods
    Consume fresh foods
    Example: fresh fruits and vegetables
    Negative externalities created when principle is violated: Damage to human health from preservatives or fossil fuel-related pollution from refrigerating food.
  • Principle #8: Properly Nourished Foods
    Consume foods that were nourished in a sustainable way
    Example: grass-fed beef or fruits and vegetables grown without fertilizer
    Negative externalities created when principle is violated:
    Damage to human health from fertilizers
    Pollution from the production and transport of fossil fuel fertilizers
    Damage to the environment from creation and transport of livestock feed
  • Principle #9: Genetically-Compatible/Paleo Foods
    Consume foods that are consistent with our ancestral heritage
    Example: Seafood, meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts
    Negative externalities created when principle is violated: Damage to human health from grains or dairy foods.
  • Principle #10: Foods With Recyclable Packaging
    Purchase foods with recyclable packaging
    Example: Any food in recyclable packaging
    Negative externalities created when principle is violated: Damage to human health and the environment from landfills.
  • Sustainable Food Index
    Simple ten point index to gauge the sustainability of a food
    A food could score one point for meeting each principle
    Easy way to rank different foods
  • Sustainable Food Index
  • An Example: Driscoll’s Organic Raspberries
  • Organic Raspberries
    Indigenous Food – Yes, American red raspberries are indigenous to North America
    Wild Food – No, grown on family farms
    Organic Food – Yes
    In-Season Food – Yes, according to the availability chart
    Local Food – No, transported from California
  • Organic Raspberries
    Whole Food – Yes
    Fresh Food – Yes, if consumed fairly quickly
    Properly Nourished Food – Assume Yes, Driscoll website notes “natural growing methods”
    Paleo Food – Yes
    Recyclable Packaging – Yes, recyclable plastic
  • Sustainable Food Index – Organic Raspberries
  • Index Issues
    How do you rate foods with multiple ingredients?
    Could focus on primary ingredient or average scores for each ingredient
    How is “local” defined?
    A mileage ring should be determined, e.g., 30 miles.
    How does “in-season” apply to animal foods?
    Beef is generally available all-year; other game is seasonal
    How is fresh defined?
  • Other Index Issues
    Could a food scoring higher on the index actually be causing more external damage?
    Yes. For example, a long transit may create more damage and pollution than other parts of the index.
    Would the Paleo principle in the index be accepted into the mainstream?
  • Economic Issues
    Sustainable is often more expensive
    Companies may pursue the least costly externalities to eliminate
    Could/should the index be enforced?
    Health care cost are being paid by taxpayers on the back end anyways
  • Ultimate Questions
    Can the world’s population be sustained on Paleolithic food?
    Where do you put all the people?
    “Paleo 2.0” version of food production
  • Thank youwww.mattmetzgar.com
    Matt Metzgar, PhD
    University of North Carolina Charlotte