Food and the Environment Claire Fink

Food in Global History: We Eat Each Others Food by Ohnuki-Tierney

Massive Change Can Come From An Older Movement. Culturally there is the "us" and there are the "others", especially in cultural terms. McDonald's was developed to become a take-out and less expensive restaurant. In Japan, McDonald's was a foreign fast food chain. To integrate into the culture, they now serve terrify burgers and other meals not on menus in the United States. Originally, when meat eating arrived in Japan, no one wanted to eat it because it was considered unsanitary; now Japan has many meat dishes of its own. Rice was brought to Japan by merchants around 400 B.C. and it is now a staple food in Japanese culture. "Not only was the Japanese sense of self born in discourse with the Other, but an imported food, rice, was made a symbol of the self" (260). Symbols are objects that represent culture as well as space and time. Symbols can also represent social groups within cultures even when the said food was not originally grown there. Chinese Ramen an Indian Curry are both staples in said countries. In East Asian cultures, it is common for the population to eat pure rice, which was imported . This represents the values of societies and social groups. We are able to study cultures through the lens of food.

Chickens are brought to roam on land, their activity on the land gives it nutrients and their dust baths create holes in the ground. Along with walking and pecking at the ground, this helps aerate the soil.

Dan Barber: Land

Land and is an important aspect in sustainable farming. Dan Barber stated that when asked the definition of sustainable farming, "[he] never arrived at an easy answer." This is because it is such a complex subject. The soil, plants and animals all need to work together to create the best system possible. The animals produce manure which gives nutrients to the soil, which plants suck up. There are cover crops that are used in the winter, these crops are grown and then tilled back into the soil. Soil has microscopic organisms living in it. With these organisms, it is able to produce plants for humans to eat. The waste from those plants are then placed back into the soil via fertilization. It is all a continuous cycle. "Without the pigs moving... the grasses between the trees will suffer." Everything is reliant on each other. There is no simple way to explain the complexities of sustainable farming. Farmers take entire lifetimes to even begin to understand how soil works and to conceive how using different plants and animals to help keep the soil health as well as for the plants and animals to produce delicious food for consumers.

Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste by Pierre Bourdieu

There are three variables- food, presentation and culture. Food is used to define the groups and distinguish said groups from others. Presentation is clotting, beauty care, toiletries and domestic servants, these are not necessities and usually the are used more by the upper class. Culture is books, papers and entertainments. Through the lens of food, we can analyze these three aspects of people's lives. monetary aspects can limit or broaden choices of food. Someone's relationship to food would me that a person would only eat a certain type compared to a variety. There is culture and its impact: religion can offer different ways of presentation. Lastly, there is social class. The wealthy have more choice in food selection while the poor have a limited choice.

It is clear that tastes in food cannot be considered in complete independence of other dimensions, of the relationship to the world, to others and to one's own body, through which the practical philosophy of each class is enabled." (36)

Food is written into the world's social construct. For example, the price of meat becomes higher with the quality. The upper and middle classes have more of a variety to choose from. Presentation is also a strong indication of social class. Takeout meals may taste delicious yet they are considered down scale because of containers as well as presentation, which is mostly one diminutional in color. A plate with a variety of colors on the plate, especially with herbs. The price also covers the experience and ambiance.

Food deserts are areas in large cities with no access to health foods such as fruits and vegetables. This is mainly associated with lower class communities.

Pictured above is a group of almonds growing in Australia.

Guns, Germs and Steel: How to Make an Almond by Neil Diamond

Through the introduction of almonds, Diamond explains the evolution of growing crops. "Plant domestication may be defined as growing a plant and thereby, consciously or unconsciously, causing it to change genetically from its wild ancestor in ways making it more useful to human consumers" (114). By planting seeds, choosing what goes into the soil and what does not, humans are able to modify foods. Selecting the desired traits desired and planting the seeds of the plant with those into the ground slowly changes the DNA of a plant. However some plants are have not been domesticated. One example is the oak tree. Although it has nuts that squires and other animals eat, it is highly bitter to humans. This is because of although in almonds it is only "a single dominant gene", this trait "appears to be controlled by many genes in oaks". Because of this, the oak tree has not been cultivated for humans to eat their nuts. Oak trees also have a slow growth which "would exhaust the patience of most farmers", the size and taste of the nuts were evolved to be "suitable to squirrels" and humans would be competing with squirrels to alter the DNA of the oak tree.

The environment also plays a role in determining the food that grows in places and the animals that live in the areal. As talked about in the article, Romans liked berries but they were modified to feed small birds and insects. They were not large enough for the Romans to eat them until modern science was able to modify the fruits.

Dan Barber: Sea

The Sea is being polluted every day. There is a large 'island' of garbage floating around the Pacific Ocean. "The fertilizers and pesticides that feed our monocultures end up in the ocean. So do the chemicals used for maintaining places like golf courses - monocultures with with eighteen holes - and backyards. Many of the toxic materials we use on land eventually leach into the ocean."

Dan Barber took a trip to a farm in Veta La Palma to visit a farmer named Miguel. Miguel had a fish farm which was highly sustainable. The reserve actually cleans the water that comes in through the ocean. When asking how they feed the fish at the farm, Miguel responded, "We don't feed [the bass] this time of year at least. The natural productivity of the farm is so high during most of the year, we're not feeding the bass" (241). This incredible process is not only helping the water and fish grow healthy, but it is helping the bird life too. Flamingos travel far from their nests to feed on the fish that live at the reserve. This might have been considered bad to another farmer who was growing fish. However, Miguel was delighted because it proves that this is the correct and only way that he will ever farm.

We Eat Each Others Food by Ohnuki-Tierney

To challenge evolution means to bring foods - plants and products - into areas where food would not naturally grow. New food has the power to change "less cultivated" populations more than "more advanced or civilized" nations. In Europe, potatoes were originally a a delicacy for the rich, but it became a common food. After its growth, Ireland (as well as other countries) became dependent on potato growth. This became a problem during the potato famine, where the ground was too hard for the potatoes to grow. This led to only half of the population of Ireland starving. It also "released emigrant labor for British North American industrial revolutions (180)" Potatoes were a staple in European culture, and gave the Irish and British most of the nutrients they needed to survive. Potatoes were also adopted into other cultures. Sweet potatoes became a large delicacy in China, as week as the latke, a Jewish dish, is mad with potatoes and is translated to "potato pancakes". Potatoes would not have gotten around the world through natural means. This is only one way that food evolution was impacted by imports and imports of food goods.

Jubilee: What a Biodynamic Farmer Taught Me About Rejuvenation by Miller

Miller visited the Jubilee Biodynamic Farm in Seattle. Miller is a family doctor who went to treat a patient but also learn about sustainable farming. Instead of heavy machines, the farm utilizes interns who use hoes and other manual labor. Biodynamic farming is a form of farming used "to preserve soil fertility and human vitality each farm needed to be a self-supporting eco-cycle, or self-powered organism, In it ideal form, biodynamic farming has no need for outside additives or inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or gasoline - the true definition of sustainable" (34). Keeping the soil health is important in farming on a biodynamic farm. The "golden mean" needs to be found which is the ratio of vitamins to minerals." (26). At a sustainable farm, they do not just produce one type of food. While there, Miller noticed "other plants" such as scallions, strawberries and peas "thriving". He saw "dozen of plant species" (29).

Biodynamic farming highlights the connections between humans and other living systems. It is a "self-supporting eco-cycle" and "self powered organism" (34). There are no outside additives. This type of farming uses twenty to fifty percent less fertilizer and fossil fuel and "preserve[s] the health of the land, animals and people" (36). The biodynamic cycle is defined as where "microbiota in the soil coordinate around a plant root system" (37).

Biodynamic Farming can be compared to a medical system, as "connections between physical and the spiritual and between humans and other living systems. If one were to diagram Steinerian relationships, they would look like an intricate, three-dimentional spiderweb - a striking contrast to the linear algorithms that fill mod medical texts.

Ways to Be Healthy 1. Invest in Farm-Fresh 2. Eat for Biodiversity 3. Eat Dirt and Bugs 4. Don't Kill Your Good Bacteria 5. Engage in Farm Love

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