Question: What are ways to measure the environmental impact of food?

by LUVAndLIVHealthyAlliance | with amallozzi February 14, 2020 17:04 | #22815

We are interested in studying the environmental impact of the food being served at our school for breakfast .We will be calculating the ecological footprint of various food being served to us.We want to know by us eating these food how is it affecting the environment?


Here in the lake Erie area, we are suffering from algae blooms. You can look up the problem. But especially in the western basin of lake Erie, the algae growth has discolored the water and caused problems with drinking water.

This is blamed on phosphorus run off from fertilizers used in farming. Phosphorus is needed in fertilizers. But if it isn't absorbed by the soil and just runs off into the water, is it doing any good? The temporary answer, at least, has been to fertilize earlier in the year, when it is not raining. Your farm agent should be able to tell you more. But I think this is a temporary fix.

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There are a number of ways to test for this.

But first, don't Use any method that brings you in contact with the algae. The exception is, if you are working with a microbiologist on approved methods for algae detection.

The algae has a distinct color. So if it is present in large enough amounts, it can be seen visibly. And by playing with lighting and light detection methods, the sensitivity could be increased.

Water, whether lake water or stream water ,could be tested for phosphorus. There are test strips available, as well as EPA methods, that could be used.

This is a start. Hope it helps. Good luck.

There is an APP from the EPA that allows for testing for cyanobacteria ( yes,this includes the bad algae). The app works on androids and is called CyAN. You might look it up, if you are still interested.

By the way, the CyAN app gets images from satellites!

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@mimiss has marked @amallozzi as a co-author.

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