What is your FoodPrint? with Jerusha Klemperer
When you think of the word print, it usually means the impression left behind, or the area affected by something else. In ecology, it means the impact of human activity on the rest of the world. So what about our Foodprint? What effects do our food choices have on the rest of the world?
Today, we get to hear from Jerusha Klemperer of FoodPrint – an online nonprofit organization dedicated to educating people on the topic of our food production processes. FoodPrint says that its “aim is to pull back the curtain on the impacts of industrial food production practices and explain the benefits of more sustainable approaches to food production and consumption. They also want to help people raise their collective voices and take action to make real change in the food system.” In other words, really honing in on how our food impacts animals, the planet, and people.
Our guest Jerusha is the Director of Foodprint, and prior to leading FoodPrint, she was a co-founder and the Communications Director for FoodCorps, an organization that works with local communities around the country to serve healthy food in schools, and before that led campaigns at Slow Food USA.
Let me tell you, she knows food and presents it in such a consumable, people-friendly way. In this episode, we chat about Foodprint, our food systems, and what you can do to start learning about eating sustainably today!
I know you’re gonna love this one – so let’s dig right in!
Meet Jerusha Klemperer
A Passion for foodJerusha’s passion for learning about how to eat sustainably led her to a career with sustainable food organizations. “I want to shorten the distance between me and my food and where it all started. I want to learn more about where my food comes from. I want to support systems that are better for the environment. For animals, more humane for them and better for workers who, you know, food and farmworkers. So it was a personal passion. And then I realized like, oh, I could do this for a career!” She was then able to realize her skills and how she could show up in the environmental space as writer, editor and director.
What is your Foodprint?
You may have heard the term foodprint before. Many see it as tracking the carbon footprint of our food, but FoodPrint.Org takes that definition a step further.
“We were trying to even broaden that term up wider so that it’s not just the carbon footprint of your food, but it’s the footprint of your food in all senses. So the impact that it has on planet, on people, on animals. So people, that’s the food and farmworkers. It’s public health and personal health. For animals, it’s animal welfare and wellbeing. And the environment, climate change is a huge issue.
So for us, the foodprint is that full impact that your food has on animal animals, planet and people.”
While it is hard to calculate the actual impact our food has on all of these different facets of our life – FoodPrint has a quick and easy calculator that helps you to begin to see your impact and find resources easily. Click here to take the quick and Find Out Your FoodPrint.
Challenges to sustainable food systems
Since Jerusha has been in this arena for so long, I asked what she sees as the biggest challenges to sustainable food systems.
There are a lot of policy roadblocks to having the food system we need and deserve. And some of that just goes right back to kind of the biggest piece of food and farm legislation that we have in this country, which is the Farm Bill and the farm bill kind of determines through what it funds and what it supports and what it prioritizes… That’s like a very basic foundational one.
Then if we’re going to look at emissions – some of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions are animal agriculture. The way that we raise animals in this country and factory farms is just hugely detrimental to our health.
Both in terms of emissions, especially with beef, but also the damage to waterways and soil and air quality and the communities who live around these factory farms. What it would take to change that is complicated. And it’s a combination of shifting people’s dietary expectations and habits, but also local legislation…
I don’t think the number one thing that needs to be fixed in our food system is you – the consumer. I don’t actually believe that.
What you can do
While the problems that face our food systems are bigger than the consumer – There are still things we can do in our daily lives to take control and reduce our impact.
When I feel anxious or stressed about the state of the world, especially environmentally, it’s actually very helpful for me to have concrete things that I can do that contribute to the solution.
When I think the world feels very overwhelming and the problems are so big and pretty scary and existential – having things that I can do every day that reduce waste, that reduce fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions, and that support life being better for food and farmworkers or life being better for animals.
For me, I find that very empowering and comforting, and it feels good to be part of the solution.
And more! I highly suggest taking some time to read through and see what issues and topics appeal to you and your lifestyle.
What you’re eating podcast
To extend the arm of education the FoodPrint puts out into the world, they have a new podcast – ‘What You’re Eating’ hosted by Jerusha Klemperer!
The podcast really does what the website does. It tries to marry these two things; which is one, understanding some of the problems with the way our food is produced. And then two, really talking through what you can do to either systemically help or to change how you’re shopping or cooking as a result of it.
With food experts like Dr. Urvashi Rangan and Patty Lovera as regulars, the content on What You’re Eating presents a scientific perspective on these topics while still keeping things fresh and fun, and consumable!
Something that’s come up in every episode that we’ve worked on so far, the experts say this and I always feel it, is it really stinks that it falls to you to have start this journey and fight so hard to learn about food. And then do better and buy different stuff. It’s a lot of work.
I wish the system wasn’t like this…But my hope is that we can get to a place where the sustainable path is the mainstream instead of, something you have to go seek out.
Find an episode and start listening today!
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