Contemplating Political Ecology of World Food Systems


Image result for raisin maid

I never would have guessed that holding a raisin in my mouth for about five minutes would change the way I can think about how and what I eat. Or, how contemplating what I ate for breakfast- a simple task could really open the door to seeing all the underlying systems and layers of politics within food. What I knew going into a Political Science course was fairly little with my Environmental Studies background, however with the use of contemplative practice I believe myself and many other people can take a moment to consider food through a different lens and give a different perspective into something so habitual and apparent to us.

Something that I’ve personally noticed is that in the college environment sometimes it’s easy to remember information for the purpose of succeeding in the course instead of actually thinking and contemplating the purpose or larger ramifications of the content. What I’ve experienced in this course is how I’ve been able to clearly recall how I felt during contemplative practices and through that am able to recall the information with more clarity from those instances versus trying to remember every single word the professor had said in class without thinking about it in a different context.

The first contemplative practice probably stands out to me the most discussing how much labor goes into producing raisins- a relatively simple food. By taking the time to think about the number of people, hours and hours of work, and many social and ecological inequities- we can really start to see all the interconnected systems at play in our world food systems. It’s clear we don’t all have the privilege to take the time to contemplate this, but for us who are- maybe it can change the way we see certain issues and go about thinking of possible solutions to food system inequalities.  

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