Week 5 Reflection

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Part 2:
Professor Fedick, went over a brief history of our Favorite Foods and Plant Domestication. He discussed the agricultural differences between the ancient agriculture that relied in natural availability, like the maya, and the modern industrial-dependent agricultural techniques that rely on diversification of domestication via genetic mutations.

In your opinion and based from our class discussions and readings, how is one’s lifestyle impacted when people are no longer dependent on growing food anymore? In other words, how has this disconnect from our food system affected our way of life (ie. hunter-gatherer to domesticating cultivators)? How has this impacted the growing process of seeds, from replanting and following the natural cycle to the development of genetically modified seeds (that do not reproduce)?

17 thoughts on “Week 5 Reflection

  1. This disconnect from our “hunter-gather” origins has led us to not respect where our food comes from and how it came to be. People now are so used to the supermarket and picking what they want there that they forget where and how it came to be. One shocking thing discussed was the origin of the pineapple that we now see in grocery stores and that it is in fact a mutant, an accident of nature. People don’t know the true nature of what the foods they eat are and are used to commercialized produce sold in stores now.

  2. As i learned from class, sixty years ago, a vast majority of the United States knew how to grow their own food, but in today’s day and age, there are more people in prison than there are people who know how to grow their own food. Since there are approximately 2.5 million prisoners in the U.S., this means that there is less than one percent of the U.S. population that knows how to properly grow their own food. This fact alone is baffling, and we must learn how to grow our own food, just in case in the future it is needed for us to do so.

  3. Reading the articles about crop enhancements really worried me even further. We already have a concern when we use a certain crop over and over for every major necessity in our lives, and to read about how much risk we face when we genetically engineer certain features of crops instead of leaving everything to nature, paints a very somber picture in my head. If we continue to have increasing levels of health concerns around the world with no identifiable link to them, the most basic way to start is to trace the advent of crop engineering and the effects they have on us, the consumers. We need to adjust the rules in which food corporations get to do business, because as capitalism is there main focus, we must not continue to allow them to corrupt our food for financial gain. Especially the companies that once were based solely on pesticides and herbicides in the past who are now masquerading under the “Going green” movements.

  4. I feel that we are too dependent on others for our food; other people grow our food and most of the time cook it as well because we are all so dependent on fast food. It’s definitely not a good thing and I feel that it’s dangerous to rely on a select few (corporations) to provide us with food. Having a few groups of people that have all the power over the food that society eats can turn out to be catastrophic. People don’t really understand food and how and what we’re supposed to eat to live healthfully and that’s scary because if there ever came to be a problem with the food system like for example pertaining to monocultures then I feel that a lot of people would be in danger. Monocultures are dangerous because it takes away variety and variety is necessary for survival because it ensures our food system in case of a virus or a bacteria. Genetic engineering has made it possible to ensure that some seeds don’t reproduce and this could have dangerous impacts on our food system and I feel that we won’t fully know the implications of genetic mutations for a while.

  5. I believe that when people are no longer dependent on growing their own food, their focus drifts somewhere else. Because food has become readily accessible to us through our growing chain of fast food restaurants, dine-in, and take-outs, we no longer pay any attention to where that food comes from, how it is made, and how it ends up in our body. Thus the dark world that includes processing, pesticides, preservatives, etc. are cast into shadows that we never care to look at. Our focus is no longer in the food we eat and. As a result, our health deteriorates and the people responsible for this continue to take advantage of our ignorance.

  6. – The disconnect from our food system has negatively affected our way of life. We are less and less healthier everyday and it’s all because of the food we are consuming. We are not getting the variety of fruits and vegetables that we should really be consuming. I took an anthro class that discusses this rapid (in anthropological time) change from hunter-gather to domesticated cultivators (eating fatty foods) that our body has not been able to adjust. 
    -Because we are always expecting the genetically modified fruits and veggies, the natural versions of them are almost extinct. I was completely shocked that The pineapple that we have come to love is a scary mutation of the original fruit. It also surprised me that most of the oranges we consume can be traced back to one mother/father plant.

  7. When I think about the disconnect in our food system, I wonder what structures are at play that keep us disconnected. There was a time when the reverse was true. We were very much involved in the foods we ate. Today there is a sound proof curtain that keeps us blind from noticing or hearing about the issues revolving around our food system. The food system can be tied to muti-national, muti-million dollar corporations that operate under capitalism. There are definitely evil and dirty operation occurring that if the whole world knew about we would be question every institution out there. What keeps us disconnected from the disturbing truth is our middleman, the media. As a culture we have become too trustworthy and dependent on institutions that do not have our best interest in mind. Knowing this has impacted my life in virtually every aspect. It’s not just the food corporation that I question; it’s everything.
    Our food system has become homogenized to benefit the few. While there is an up side to monoculture in terms of convenience and productivity, the long-term effects of monoculture are negative. Negative because monoculture is infiltrating our soil to produce only a few things of what our world has to offer. The diversity of food is something many people depend on to survive; it is their staple. If we eliminating the diversity in food then we are eliminating a wide array of species for good. Monoculture is making it difficult to learn about the diverse foods our ancestors once ate and is also disturbing the harmony between cultures and humans and the environment etc.

  8. People are impacted when they are no longer dependent on growing food anymore because they become disconnected to the very life that keeps them alive. We as people in the 21st century in a “modern” country have lost the instinct of feeling, touching, smelling, and tasting the differences between ripe, edible, and tasteful food when we go to the supermarket for something that is probably at least a week old. At the same time, this disconnection is dangerous as we isolate ourselves from our natural environment and begin to create an invisible border between other beings of life and ourselves leading to an overtly anthropocentric and hegemonic ideologies of man dominating nature.

    The disconnection of no longer being the producer, planting the seed, harvesting the plant, transporting it from the farm to the trading market makes us consumers of unknown goods. Unknown because we most likely do not know who produced it, who farmed the land, how much they got paid, what were the work ethics in the farm, who owned the farm, how fair was the person to the workers, what type of seeds, pesticides, and practices were used to produce the mass commodity. While taking that option, we also lose our heritage and cultural history of farming and respecting nature as a diverse array of living organisms that help us survive through mutual relationships in our environment. As Professor Farah Godrej mentions, “food is a political act,” but why is it that some don’t care about the people, the destruction, the negative consequences of our conventional western food system? Why is it that even if you are aware and political conscious you still cannot afford to buy the food you want to eat?

    These questions are already being answered, both on the comments above, and by many that know the truth. We all know the truth of the situation and the solutions will not come from those who are making the most profit from this system.

  9. I feel that since we have moved away from growing our own food that society is so disconnected that most people do not know what the actual plant their vegetables and fruits come from look like anymore. We have become so mass produced that the average person will probably be the 100th person to actually touch their food by the time they eat it. We have the farmers, the harvesters, the packagers, the grade checkers, the transporters, the buyers, the sellers, and finally us. By the time we get our food it has already been out of the ground for weeks. The fact that are food has been so genetically modified that it can now keep that long scares me. If it keeps that long packaged how long does it actually take to digest. It gives the idea, “you are what you eat” a totally new meaning.

  10. I feel that when we become dependent on others for our own food rather than independant and growing our own food then we lose the ability to make healther choices. To me its like society has become that big brother and contorls us, like the discussion with Farrah, we have corn in every food we eat now, how do we get away from this, its all processed, convenient and its not healthy. We become disconnected because we no longer have the natural cycle of growing food, with GMO, plants do not reproduce and it takes them that much more effort and a lot of money. Personally, when we become dependent on our bigger society for our food and itsnt exactly healthy, we then lose sight on what it means to take care of our bodies and our earth. It really should be a natural cycle and yet man has managed to disrupt it and it makes me afraid for our wellbeing and for the future.

  11. I support the current food system in the sense that it allows others because of the surplus to specialize in different fields other than just growing food. I just wish the food industry conducted themselves in ways more mindful of their laborers and consumers. I believe that there should be more education on the food system because regardless if we handle food or not it is a very important aspect of our lives.

    Genetically modified foods should be limited to an extent because there has been insufficient testing done. This is a dangerous gamble since we do not know what could potentially happen. More testing should be done before genetically modified foods hit the market.

  12. We have lost control of how our food is produce. We do not even know where our food comes from and how old it’s when we buy it. We have become totally disconnected from our food system. We buy food that is supposed to be organic that this is just a label basically any company can say their vegetables or fruits are organic. The natural cycle has been change we buy seeds that are only good for one time because they have been genetic modify therefore these seeds will not reproduce. This disconnection affects our health in the long run.

  13. I think it has distorted our relationship with food. We no longer see where it comes from and where it goes so we don’t really see the whole picture nor do most people really want too. I think this distortion is what allows big business’ in food almost free reign to do whatever they want; what they do is not in our immediate field of vision and therefore goes largely unnoticed, allowing gross misappropriation of natural resources (such as genetically modified seeds). Because food has become a business now, technology has become the name of the game because efficiency and cheaply made are tenets of business.

  14. Hey yall,

    Yeah I have to agree with everyone else. We really became so disconnected with our food that we don’t even know where it comes from, what’s in it, or where to get real food from. One mishap that it does bring up is food injustice. When people don’t know where food comes from, they lose access/information of how to get nutritional food choices. It really causes an injustice because we’re forced to eat things that we don’t even know where it comes from or what is in it. As we have discussed the whole “organic” label is a joke. It screws up people’s livelihoods as we are unable to have proper access to healthy foods and people just settle for fast food since it’s the cheapest alternative (or rather cheaper than truly healthy food due to the fact that fast food is heavily subsidized). Currently in order to feed the masses food growers are involved in so much monoculture in order to meet what society’s demands are, but what needs to happen is a shift to multi-culture so that there is a vast variety of healthy foods and alternatives. Even growing our own foods, or buying foods from local markets/local farms is the best alternative that we can push for (rather than buying food from a supermarket where the veggies/fruits travel for weeks).

    Take care,
    -Izzy

  15. I really enjoyed Professor Fedick’s talk. It was informative and and eye opening. I liked how we discussed the disconnect we have with farmers as the world continues to modernize. It’s sad to see that a lot of people do not know farmer working conditions and some do not even know how to plant properly. I loved learning how to plant and the origins of some plants such as bananas and just how many different types of potatoes there are and who primarily consume them. We also discussed some modern farmer techniques on how to produce more and bigger fruits and veggies and I remember illustrating my concerns regarding this method. I learned that with every pro there is a con. Most importantly, I hope that in the future we can connect students to the conditions of farmers and harvesters so we can create a better and healthier world…and maybe even find a way to stop world hunger.

  16. We as a society are given time by not having to worry about maintaining a constant food supply for discovery and technological advancements. However, is our current Food System the most effective? No. I think we need to reshift the industrialize mega producing food system to something that does unbalance the world and impact society negatively. A more agroecological system that incorporates health and environmental building rather than degrading is in my mind, the solution.
    Returning to the earth cycle rather than to make a straight process off agriculture. Also, introducing genetically modified plants is good for places in drought and other different environments with hindered agriculture. However, if it really does empower one particular entity with the entire food supply… That’s kind of a scary thought. They essentially mandate what we eat and don’t. Why apples? Not guavas.

  17. When people are no longer dependent on growing food anymore, our health suffers. Our only option becomes consuming the food that corporations provide for us. This food is produced with high yields in mind. This lack of dependence on growing our own food can also result in negative health impacts. Growing our own food was once a labor intensive and physically engaging process. Now, because it is not necessary to grow our own food, people do not benefit from that physical activity.

    The production of seeds that cannot reproduce has also increased our dependence on corporations for our food supply. We can buy and plant these seeds, but once the harvesting is over, our crops are unable to provide us with the seeds for the next generation of crops. We must return to the manufacture of the seeds if we want to plant again. I see this as a ridiculous process. Nature demonstrates that the current generation of crops should give rise to the next generation. These seeds that cannot reproduce hinder sustainability practices and our hope to be self-sufficient.

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