#FoodThanks: giving thanks for our abundant food supply
As thanksgiving draws close, I decided to take some time to think about what I am thankful for this year. There are so many things that we can be thankful for, but I thought I would draw some attention to 3 specific things that we can be thankful for.
1- The Variety and Availability of our Food Supply
We have one of the most diverse food supplies in the history of the world. In the entire scope of history, we have the most variety in the types of foods we can eat than the people of preceding millennia.
Pre-Columbus, Europeans had never eaten potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, corn, or chocolate. Likewise, North and South American natives had never eaten carrots, pears, asparagus, beef, milk, cheese, or yogurt. Can you imagine a world without chocolate, or cheese?
Transportation and storage advancements have allowed us to have a consistent food supply. We, as consumers, are no longer slaves to the seasonality of foods. If we want to eat fresh fruits in the winter, we can. Supermarkets here simply import fresh fruits from a different part of the world.
Advancements in transportation, storage, and farming have allowed us to have a diverse, abundant marketplace with a consistent availability of various foods. How blessed are we to enjoy such culinary variety.
2- The Safety of our Food Supply
We have one of the safest food supplies in the history of the world. Only recently over the past 200 years, has there have been advancements in food storage, food preservation, and consistent monitoring of food quality.
In the 1800s, the “icebox,” the first form of refrigerators, became available to the average person. With refrigeration, food could be stored much longer without spoiling. Commercial refrigeration was developed in the 1800s by Oliver Evans, but the modern day refrigerator didn’t replace the iceboxes until the 1930s.
In the 1860s, Louis Pasteur began his work on pasteurization and fermentation as methods to preserve food. Louis Pasteur, with the development of pasteurization, created a way to reduce illnesses, and make milk one of the safest food products available for human consumption.
Modern science has allowed for the creation of specialized and routine testing of food products to monitor product quality, and protect against any disease that might get into our food supply.
The safety of our food supply is definitely something that we can be thankful for!
3 – The Affordability of Food Today
Here in the United States, we often forget how fortunate we are to have inexpensive food. Americans enjoy some of the cheapest food in the world, but rarely notice.
Agriculture in the United States has become much more efficient, and farmers are feeding more people than ever before. Our food supply has become much more efficient driving down the cost of food for consumers.
Low priced food has increased the standard of living for everyone here in the United States. It allows people more access to food that they can afford.
In 1930, the percentage of income spent on food was 25 percent. Today, consumers only spend 10% of their income on food.
**Percent of Income spent on Food in the U.S.**
Something to be thankful for!
We can be thankful for our food! A lot of us take food for granted, not realizing how blessed we are today with the many advancements that have been made. Our food today is more abundant, more diverse, more affordable, and much more safe than ever before. Let’s give thanks for these things this year!