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Childcare

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Submitted By sheilasturgeon
Words 978
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The United States is very proud of the fact that we have lots of options and our grocery stores are able to stock their shelves with lots of options so that we are able to purchase what we want; that means food items too. We like to plan our meals in advance and then go to the grocery and buy the items we need for those meals. We can also just pick out items that are readily available and then plan our meals around those items. What we usually don’t do, is think about where those items come from. Some of the items may come from here in the United States and some may come from other counties. There could be good things and not so good things come from items produced inside and outside of the United States. One of the good things is that the items that are produced and used in the U.S. help our struggling economy. An example of this would be milk that is produced from cows and collected at a farm and brought to a pasteurization plant where it is processed. Since milk spoils so quickly it’s usually sent to a plant that is fairly close to the farm. They test the milk for antibiotics and then it’s pumped into holding tanks and processed in 24 to 72 hours of the time it gets to the plant. It is kept under 45 degrees from the time it gets into the transportation truck until the time it’s processed. After it’s processed it is put in cartons and taken to the store still being kept below 45 degrees. Milk is never shipped to other countries because of the fact it needs to be kept refrigerated. (Milk Processing, 2007) One of the not so good things about products produced in other countries is that they may have to add preservatives to food in order to transport them to other countries and those preservatives may lead to obesity. They have to pick fruits and vegetables even before they are ripe to add the preservatives to prevent them from spoiling. Some of the ways they manage this is by using waxes, gases and chemicals like fungicides and sprout inhibitors. (Dean, 2007) This also slows down the ripening of the fruits and vegetables which is a good thing, because they may have to sit in the store for a little while before they are bought and taken home to eat. Now the not so good thing is that these preservatives that slow down the ripening process also promote obesity. Also, while the produce is in transport they could lose vitamins, so it’s best that they stay on the vine to allow them to ripen the way nature intended. The fact is, if we want healthy produce we need to purchase it locally like Farmer’s Markets or grocers that purchase their produce from local farmers. Purchasing produce from Farmer’s Markets or grocers that purchase produce from local farmers also stimulates the local economy. According to Dean, we double the amount of money that goes back into the local economy, and according to Pretty, corporate farms gain just a small part of the cost to produce a single loaf of bread, after they harvest, ship, process and package their produce. The corporate farmers have to produce much larger crops just to be able to make enough money to live while the small farmer sells his produce at a higher price and returns the money into his farming business, therefore, stimulating the local economy. I called Wal-Mart, where I do all my grocery shopping, to ask them questions about where they purchase certain items that I purchase on a regular basis. I wanted to find out where these items that I purchase come from. Wal-Mart employees where not very helpful, it seems they don’t know much. I did find out from searching the internet that Wal-Mart purchases their eggs from Hillandale Farms. Hillandale Farms has several locations around the Midwest, so I am assuming that any of the locations would be considered a local farm. Then I wanted to know where my bacon came from. Again, internet research tells me that the bacon that I buy, Plumrose, comes from a facility in Elkhart, Indiana. Elkhart is about 200 miles from my hometown. Now the coffee that I buy is Great Value, which is a Wal-Mart brand. I found this item to be very interesting, because it seems there is no certain answer to who exactly makes Great Value brand coffee or where the coffee beans come from, which is beginning to make me wonder if the Wal-Mart brands are worth the savings. Now every time I buy a Great Value brand item from Wal-Mart I am going to wonder if the product is from the United States or from another country. After writing this paper, I do believe I am going to start buying as much produce as I can from local farmers. Our farmers have produce stands in several areas of our small community, so it would not be very difficult. I am also considering buying meat, such as hogs, cows, and chickens from farmers who sell the animals for slaughter and have them slaughtered and packaged. By doing this, I am sure of where my food is coming from and that it is fresh with no preservatives.

References
Milk Processing. (2007, January 3). Retrieved June 23, 2012, from Cornell University: http://www.milkfacts.info/Milk%20Processing/Milk%20Processing%20Page.htm
Dean, A. (2007, October 25). Local Produce vs. Global Trade. Retrieved June 25, 2012 from Policy Innovations: http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/briefings/data/local_global
Pretty, J. (2001, November 2). Some Benefits and Drawbacks of Local Food Systems. Retrieved June 25, 2012, from Sustain Web: http://www.sustainweb.org/pdf/afn_m1_p2.pdf

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