Thoughts on a Seedling

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A pine cone sprouts from the burnt forest floor the spring after a wildfire. Of all hopeful metaphors, a germinating seed might be the most deeply rooted (pun intended). Yet the metaphor gives a dark warning as well: you reap what you sow. The importance of literally planting good seeds can’t be overstated, but the idea is also a useful… Read more »

Violence’s Voracious Appetite

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Food is the polar opposite of violence; neither feels significant until it’s personal. Hunger is in the belly. It feels different to see a bombing on the news versus noticing plumes of smoke from your window. Modern history forces us to consider starvation as a weapon… but is it a useful weapon? Food insecurity and civil unrest form a vicious… Read more »

What Does the Average Family Eat?

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What does the average family grocery list look like? Photographer Peter Menzel must have pondered something similar before travelling to 24 countries to find those average families and photograph them with their weekly groceries. He published the pictures in his book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats in 2005. While all his photos are thoughtful and expertly captured, the families… Read more »

The Battle for Land and Water

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If you want to grow food, you’ll need fertile land and a reliable supply of water. It’s important to realize that these two resources are very tightly linked and neither is infinite. When either is compromised, food is harder to grow and bad things start to happen. Farmland has been a cause for conflict throughout history, but as agriculture has… Read more »

Meat – Lesson 9

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After reading this week’s learning resources, my perspective on meat consumption has changed significantly. My previous belief about meat consumption was that it was best to keep farming outdoors and “natural” rather than participate in the often-unethical farming of indoor livestock. I never realized that outdoor farming had as large of a negative environmental impact as Monbiot points out in… Read more »

Food System – Climate Change

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Our environment is changing. When we consider the state of our environment and the various negative impacts that have taken place over time, particularly those caused by human consumption and fossil fuel emissions. However, changing how one product is produced or farmed can have more of an impact than people realize. Various grains are extremely versatile and used in different… Read more »

Beefy Industry

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In his book Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, Richard Robbins weighs the environmental costs of a staple of the US diet: beef. In mathematical number of calories, beef is an inefficient food that requires huge food input. Cattle feed accounts for 80% of US grain production and about half of US water consumption. This inefficiency is magnified as… Read more »

Farming Life

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  Food is life. Nonetheless, 25% of global food production is traded internationally like any other commodity. This huge movement of food comes with consequences. Trade liberalization can disrupt the economy of a developing country in many ways, but especially by disadvantaging domestic farming by importing cheap food from more developed nations where agriculture is more industrialized. Consider peasant farmers… Read more »

Blog Post 2

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Any significant drop or raise in population would dramatically change the state of the economy, and ultimately, the function of the market. If something simple, such as wheat, were to suddenly become scarce, the impact would be dramatic. Since wheat is used in such a great many other products, those products relying on wheat would also become scarce and would… Read more »

Evolution of Food Industrialization

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What I found interesting this week was the evolution of food systems, from it’s beginning to it’s present forms. The lifestyles of humans have evolved dramatically. In a hunter gatherer society, food was consumed as it was available, and groups would migrate to find more food resources once theirs become scarce. However, as these evolved into settlements and communities, humans began to deplete… Read more »