A frog speaks to the idea of a Circular Economy

Hello, I’m Foster the Frog, alterego for a food scientist who is beginning to look at the food industry in a new way.

As a frog, I’m uniquely qualified to write about these issues.  I’m incredibly sensitive to my environment, and I see that things are changing in my freshwater pond here in Florida.  I’ll share my thoughts on environment in a separate blog stream later.  For now, I’d like to muse on how my world might be if we kept our knowledge and technologies, but otherwise threw out every rule, incentive, constraint, starting assumption, etc. that has led to the food system which we currently experience.   I have quite a bit of knowledge about food, technology, etc.  I do not have deep knowledge of food politics or many other areas that I will touch on.   I’m musing, so I’ll share partially formed thoughts.  I welcome thoughtful questions or input to this blog in pursuit of the best ideas possible.

Ellen MacArthur’s Foundation clarifies the idea of a Circular Economy.  She describes the kernel of her interest was generated during her Around the World sail race.  She had to prepare her vessel to be self contained for the duration of the race.  She differentiates a circular economy where products are designed for maximum reuse from an extractive economy where we extract, make, use, discard.   A quick web search will link you to excellent materials where Ellen explains this concept.

As a frog, I intuitively understand a circular economy.  While my pond isn’t exactly a closed system, for the most part, my pond provides all that I need to exist.  Anything that affects my pond, affects me, and sooner rather than later.  So I’ve listened to the webcasts from Ellen with particular attentiveness.   I understand clearly how her ideas apply to cars and cellphones.  I’d like to see how extensively her ideas might also apply to food.

Some Topics to consider in the exploration of a Circular Food Economy 

-Local Food

-Government incentives and disincentives, negative externalities

-Costs and daily food choices

-Land use

-Quality of life for the animals that feed us

-Waste in all levels of the food system

-Marketing and its impact on topics above

-Food as a source of pleasure and celebration

Intuitively, I believe that Circular Economy ideas apply broadly to complete food systems beyond recycling of packaging and composting of organic waste.  I’ll blog on these topics to begin to explore the ideas that might need to change to explore how a Circular Food Economy might work.





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