In the relationship between a producer and a consumer, the producer makes something that the consumer can process. This is can be a situation where a company produces clothing that is purchased and worn by a consumer. It is also true when one person produces a message that is received by another person, who is in the position of a consumer, such as this message where I am producing and you will receive my message. In a food web situation, producers are in the role of providing food to consumers. Primary producers make their own food from sunlight and these autotrophs, consisting of plants and algae, are then eaten by animals who are the primary consumers. Those animals are then consumed by larger animals and are then known as secondary consumers. In this system, there is one more type of organism, and that is the decomposer that helps to break down organisms after death. But overall, producer makes, consumer takes.
Panacea said it well. I’d like to add some things tangentially. Since we are generally on the consuming end of things, we are the demand part of the supply-and-demand chain. How much we consume dictates how much is produced. If we want less to be produced (which is what’s best from a “green” standpoint), we need to consume less. This is a huge argument for living simply as a means to be green. ALSO, if you buy things SECOND HAND (thrift stores garage sales craigslist, etc), you are doing 2 services:
1) you are removing yourself from the supply-and-demand chain because nothing was produced for you
2) you are keeping products from becoming post-consumer waste.
Think about it!
A producer makes/grows a good while a consumer consumes the good. In short, the producer makes their own food, while a consumer does not. A consumer must find the food to eat.
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