Date of Award


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


In today’s age of globalization, the world’s food systems are no exception to this dominant economic trend. Although globalization has ushered in an unprecedented economic boom, the globalization of the food system has negative implications for the environment, including the pollution and energy costs of transporting food around the globe, the exploitation of land for farming, particularly in developing countries, and the degradation and depletion of natural resources. This paper seeks to address the environmental problems associated with the globalized food system and provide possible solutions to those problems, using the food system of Bronx residents as a case study throughout the paper. Chapter 1 uses data to illustrate both the environmental and social costs of a globalized food system. Chapter 2 traces the history of food systems and demonstrates how food systems have developed from localized to globalized over time, both in broad terms and in the specific case of the Bronx. Chapter 3 examines the economics of the globalized food system, illustrating that the system is extremely economically profitable for some agents, and less profitable for others like the low-income residents of the Bronx. Chapter 4 evaluates the ethics of the globalized food system and discusses how communities like the Bronx are disproportionately harmed by the system. Drawing together the information from the previous chapters, chapter 5 recommends policies to solve the problems of the globalized food system by making food systems more localized in food desert communities, with initiatives such as incentivizing backyard gardens, implementing local farmer’s markets, and reclaiming farmland in urban areas.