Contemplating What Your Food Goes Through Before it Reaches Your Plate

Before this class, I had never had a professor engage students in contemplative practices. In fact, I had never heard of such a thing, so when Professor Litfin handed us raisins, turned off the lights, and read us a poem I was initially confused. Although, while sitting with the raisin in my mouth, I began to think “what goes into making this raisin?” I have grown up eating raisins but I have never stopped and thought about the process a grape goes through to become a raisin. I personally just assumed that the grapes were picked, washed, left out to dry, and then packaged as raisins. Although, the image below and the videos we watched in class have shown that the production process is much more complicated.

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This contemplative practice made me realize that I never really spend much time engaging in the contemplation of my food. I make choices everyday about what I am going to eat but I never stop and think about where this food originally came from, how much oil was used, how much the workers get paid, and so on. I am always on the go with work, school, and other activities that I am more focused on filling up my belly than focusing on where it came from or the processes it went through to reach my plate. The industrialization of food and the globalization of the world food system are partially to blame for this. Americans have lost some of their food culture and spend much less time eating, preparing, and thinking about food than other countries around the world. Since we live such a fast-paced lifestyle, I think that these practices are helpful in slowing down our lives to stop and think about food on a deeper level.

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