Food ecology of the world was a very thought provoking subject that I did not know anything about. Prior to the class, I thought that it would only be about the countries in the third world and how people suffer from hunger and poverty. I had no idea that there are many factors that come into consideration when examining the whole food system. To start with, I was not expecting to learn about the systems topic which helped me understand how processes come together. That was probably the most eye-opening learning because even though I am aware that I live in process driven society, I had not thought about the connection to everything, especially the food system.
My most aha moment was during the chocolate exercise. It made me realize how disconnected the farmers are from farming the cocoa bean to passing it onto the exporting company and getting paid so little for it. They were completely unaware what happens to this most precious luxury after they have farmed it. Learning about their experience when they first taste chocolate and appreciating this luxury item was very amusing. They had no idea how luxurious this commodity is and how it is given as a token to celebrate life events and treated as something special to share. Now every time I eat chocolate, I think about the cocoa bean farmers trying to make a living by collecting the bean harvest for export.
It made me sad to learn that hunger is a consequence of water shortages, war and conflict and political reasons. Our survival depends on water but learning about how water may become limited due to climate warming, it was really interesting to get an historical experience of water collection and preservation by the desert communities in India.
I have never gardened for vegetables or fruits because I grew up in the city and we did not have a garden. But now that I live in suburban part of town, I think I have been inspired to grow something. Maybe this will be the start to getting connected to the soil, the land and the produce.