What have you learned about your personal Food FootPrint in terms of both health and ecological impacts from this activity?

What have you learned about your personal Food FootPrint in terms of both health and ecological impacts from this activity?

Food Footprint Analysis

This Assignment addresses the following CCO objectives:

2. Present environmental information using effective written and/or oral communications
3. Describe, numerically and graphically, various presentations of data
6. Describe conditions that promote various ecosystems and appraise the impacts of human endeavors on them
7. Find, evaluate, use and cite variety of informational resources relevant to environmental science
9. Describe the impact human activities had on natural systems
10. Evaluate a range of cultural and social approaches to environmental problems

13. Assess the effect and importance of individual behavior on environmental issues
18. Develop informed views based on critical evaluation of information sources
19. Engage in problem solving of environmental issues

Due Date: Please see the Assignment and Syllabus for Due Dates
Credit: This activity is worth _30_ points, see Rubric for details.

A FoodPrint (food footprint) is the ecological footprint of the food we eat based on the way it is raised and brought to market.  It includes the land area necessary for the production of the food and in the case of livestock, the production of the feed for those animals. For seafood it includes the oceans/lakes/rivers required to produce the food items. It also includes a measure of the land necessary to absorb the wastes produced in the production of the food, the manure, carbon dioxide (CO2) from transportation, landfill space from packaging, etc. (EP@W, 2008)

Complete the activities below and submit your findings in a Word document attached to the Assignment in Blackboard. Be certain to properly cite your sources in APA (Name, Year) format with a full references list at the end of your submission.

To help you better understand this assignment, Read the article, Food’s Carbon Footprint from nutritionist Jane Richards at GreenEatz.com (http://www.greeneatz.com/foods-carbon-footprint.html)

Part 1: Estimate your Ecological Footprint

  • Go to the Global Footprint Network’s Ecological Footprint Calculator: https://www.footprintcalculator.org/
  • Complete the Quiz and find your Earth Overshoot date and the number of planets you need for your lifestyle.
  • Then choose the See Details arrow to get more information.
  • Answer the following questions in a brief (2-3 sentences) paragraph:
    How many global hectares does just your food require?
    Compare this to the land area available per person on the planet.

1b) Describe ways that you could reduce your Food Footprint?
(Be certain to cite your sources and use academic grammar and mechanics in your response.)

Part 2: Your Personal Food Diary

  • Choose a typical day in your week, one where you are working or attending school. Make a complete list of the items you eat & drink throughout that day. Create a table to help you organize your foods.
  • List each food item and try to identify the actual amount of each food that you have consumed (including calories).
  • List all the ingredients. Remember whole foods don’t have ingredients, and some ingredients (i.e. mayonnaise) have additional ingredients within them.
  • Your food diary MUST include a minimum of 5 items and/or between 1000-2000 calories.* There are a number of widely available apps for estimating the amount and caloric content of your food. *If you are under the care of a physician and have a calorie-restricted diet please contact your instructor prior to turning in your Assignment for further instructions.
Food ItemAmount (g)Ingredients:
Granola bar42g, 190 calorieswhole grain oats, sugar, canola oil, dark chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural flavor), roasted peanuts, yellow corn flour, soy flour, peanut butter, brown sugar syrup, honey, salt, natural flavor, soy lecithin, baking soda (package listing)
appleMedium ~50g, 75 caloriesapple, Macintosh
Skim milk French Vanilla Swirl Iced Macchiato24fl oz, 240 caloriesSkim Milk; Brewed Espresso Coffee; French Vanilla Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt.
(Dunkin Donuts, 2017)
Your table will have more rows to reach a minimum of 1000 calories and 5 food items.
  • This is an incomplete EXAMPLE of what Table 1 should look like.

If you need help creating a table in word (you can use Excel if you want), here are a few resources:

Part 3: Food FootPrint Analysis
Now that you have taken a long, hard look at the foods you actually eat, identify the impacts of these foods on our planet and your health.  Generally the less a food has to travel, the less CO2 is produced. Foods produced by large, industrial farming practices tend to use more fertilizer, water, and pesticides. Fresh, sustainably grown, organic and local foods tend to have better nutrition than highly processed items.

For each item in your Food Diary:
 1) Is the item a whole or a processed food?
 2) Was the item organically or industrially grown? Include the evidence you have to support this
 3) How far has the food traveled to get to your plate? These are your “food miles”.
There are a number of online calculators to help you with this, or you can use Google maps to get the distance.
Example Food Miles calculators:
https://www.foodmiles.com/ [This one is based in the UK but you can select your home country and it will use Washington DC as your ‘home’ location.]
http://www.fallsbrookcentre.ca/cgi-bin/calculate.pl [This one is more comprehensive, but the results are more challenging to interpret.]

4) Multiply the miles traveled (from #3) by the CO2 per mile conversion below to get your Carbon Footprint for that item. Remember this is an estimate only and that many additional factors come into play in the ‘real world’.

If transported by car (locally): 0.65 lbs CO2/mi
19.4 lbs CO2 per gallon of gasoline (DOE, 2009) / 30mpg (my car’s mpg) = 0.65 lbs CO2 per mile
If shipped by truck: 3.7 lbs CO2/mi                           22.2 lbs CO2 per gallon of diesel fuel (DOE, 2009) / 6 mpg (Geotab, 2019) = 3.7 lbs CO2 per mile.
(This is the most common within the US, Canada & Mexico)
If shipped by air: 0.5 lbs CO2/mi
(Carbon Fund, 2016)
If shipped by boat: 0.06 lbs CO2/mi
(Carbon Fund, 2016)

5) What would be an example of a lower carbon footprint food?
Please note, you don’t actually have to eat this food, it is a thought experiment. Unless you list a locally grown, organic, in-season fruit or vegetable, there will be a lower carbon option!

This is an incomplete EXAMPLE of what Table 2 should look like:

Food Item1)
Whole or Processed
Organic or Industrial
Food Miles
CO2 conversion factor
(lbs /mi)
Estimated Carbon Footprint
(lbs CO2)
5) Lower carbon alternative?
Granola barProcessedIndustrial6073.72,246 Locally grown oatmeal
AppleWholeOrganic (label)200.6513This is a locally grown in season fruit.
Dunkin Iced CoffeeProcessedIndustrialCoffee:
2,396 (Bogota, Columbia)

988 (Wisconsin)

144 +  

3657 =
3800 total
Water from the tap

**Note that this is a SAMPLE, you must complete Table 2 for each item in Table 1.
Be certain to properly cite your sources in APA format with a full references list at the end of your submission.

Part 4: Conclusions

Please respond to each of the questions below in a short essay (2-3 paragraphs) which uses academic English and is properly cited in APA (Name, Year) format.

  • What have you learned about your personal Food FootPrint in terms of both health and ecological impacts from this activity?
  • What factors contribute most to your food choices?

  • Explain what impacts would be reduced buying more local foods?
  • Would you be willing to make changes to your diet based on these results? Why or why not?

  • What resources exist to enable you to purchase locally grown foods in Baltimore? Provide at least two (2) locations where you could purchase these foods.
  • Describe any programs that exist in our area that would enable a person of limited income to get better access to healthy food choices. (This will require research; be sure to cite your sources.)


Submit your Food Footprint Assignment as a single document and upload it the assignment submission link on Blackboard. Your document should include both your tables, your essay, and references. You must use academic English in your response, and you must provide citations in APA for all information outside of your personal experiences (include in-text citations AND a full reference list)


Carbon Fund. (2016). How we calculate. Retrieved from https://carbonfund.org/how-we-calculate/

Department of Energy (DOE). (2009).  Fact#576: Carbon dioxide from Gasoline and Diesel Fuel. Vehicle    Technologies Office. Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/fact-576-june-22- 2009-carbon-dioxide-gasoline-and-diesel-fuel

Dunkin Donuts. (2017). Iced macchiato. Retrieved on May 26, 2017 from https://www.dunkindonuts.com/en/food-drinks/iced-drinks/iced-macchiato

EP@W Publishing, LTD. (2017). Sustainable Food: Food footprint – what it means.
                Retrieved May 26, 2017 from http://sustainablefood.com/Foodfootprint-What.htm

Geotab. (2019). The State of Fuel Economy in Trucking. Retrieved from https://www.geotab.com/truck- mpg-benchmark/

Richards, J. (n.d.). Food’s Carbon Footprint. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from http://www.greeneatz.com/foods-carbon-footprint.html