So with the meal I ate this week, I made baked salmon with baked asparagus, steamed rice, and a baked potato. I got all my ingredients from Kroger except for the rice and asparagus, the rice came from an Asian market store and the asparagus from Sam’s. I know that the salmon probably came from a farm on the east coast. I really don’t feel much emotions towards the fact that it came from a farm because for the most I usually view my meals and food at a cost instead of like the origins of it. I don’t have too much of a negative viewpoint on where my meal comes from. The asparagus obviously like any of the other ingredients came from a farm in the Midwest. I feel that the origin of this could’ve easily been farmed closer to where we live since asparagus doesn’t take too much land to grow. The packaging that it came in also indicated that it was farmed without all the GMO stuff so that’s always a plus, to me the whole GMO conflict doesn’t mean much to me. If I were to focus purely on what my food contains and where it comes from then I wouldn’t be in the shape, I am now. I would probably be skinnier and I’m trying to gain weight so eating anything and everything is goal for me right now. The potatoes like the asparagus came from a farm from the Midwest and was probably farmed using GMO’s. I think that knowing where your food comes from and what is used to grow it is great information and beneficial to those that want to know more but in my situation like I stated before is not relevant. I’ll keep eating these foods regardless if they are farmed “organically” or mass produced in a factory. To the best of my knowledge the rice was probably from an eastern Asian country, from what I’ve seen on the internet and television the farms are huge and are usually not machine operated. How I feel about this is that obviously it’s insane for someone to farm rice, it’s such a tiny thing that and so much has to farmed to get just a small portion for someone to eat. The people that farm the rice aren’t skilled workers but probably regular everyday people, the whole my great grandfather was a farmer and his grandfather was a farmer type situation. I think out of all the ingredients in my meal this was probably the most labor intensive ingredient. It is crazy to think that the all the ingredients for my meal came from hundreds of miles away and yet the food itself is still relatively fresh. Like I said before I don’t feel any type of empathy or real type of connection to my ingredients, like it’s terrible the way these farmers use GMO’s and certain techniques that make mass production farming non susceptible for the Earth. Like thinking about the fact that the salmon I ate was farmed in a tank for months at a time and the fish itself is stuck with hundreds of others doesn’t sound to appealing. It’s a terrible thing for the fish itself but to me being the consumer I don’t show much empathy but to the actual process behind growing/raising the fish is what leaves an imprint. These farms aren’t always out to make their products (fish) morally right or ethically right, most are out for the money so every little bit that they can save will impact the farm. I mean you see it in every industry out there, everyone is out to take shortcuts that will save them a little here and a little there, and what ends up happening in the end is the products are disgusting. I know that growing potatoes isn’t as time consuming or labor inducing as say the other ingredients in my meal, so I don’t feel too much about where that comes from. I think with the introduction of urban farms into cities where land is available is a great thing moving forward. We talk about it now with Richmond being a food desert and I think that this farm over at Fairfield Middle School will help out not in a huge way but it will make an impact. Going back to the farming of the salmon, to my knowledge there only way to get salmon is either farming them in mass production or catching them in the wild. I wouldn’t mind eating salmon that was caught out in the wild compared to those farmed, I’m sure that it actually tastes better but I think for most people including myself the issue isn’t really taste at this point but an economic standpoint. Salmon already as it is, isn’t all that cheap to begin with, I think it came to about twenty dollars total for maybe about eight small pieces. So going out and looking for salmon that caught out in the wild, I can only imagine how much it cost plus you have the whole “organic” label that drives the price up even more. To most people groceries aren’t really bought really on taste but more on convenience and like I said before price. Also to note about the food and how people purchase them, the reason why the food we find in the grocery stores that appeal visually are most likely altered to look that way to make them more purchasable. I have seen it on television and documentaries where they add food coloring and even add chemicals (GMO’s) that will add certain antibacterial properties when eaten. I think that for the most part for now, my decision currently is going to be based on economically instead of the whole morally/ethical ways behind the food themselves. I know it’s not the greatest way to look at it since being in this class but for the most part it’s going to be this way until something changes in my lifestyle.
So with the article itself I found it very interesting, it talks about the sustainability of agriculture and how that has an impact on our lives ourselves as well as the lives of the future. It also went to talk about moral beliefs and concepts such as utilitarianism. All of which were very relevant to the topic of sustainability, this actually ties back to part of my major; that being marketing, we discussed sustainability and how to properly and efficiently market to consumers. Sustainability is come in throughout any topic that that will be discussed worldwide it could go from politics to agriculture to economics. The idea of sustainability is very important for those in the future, in the article it it talks about a lot of having to deal with morality of whether or not one should care about the future lives or not. I believe that sustainability is very important and the future of the earth as well as the lives that live on it are going to be very dependent on the food sources that are becoming less and less available. I remember watching a documentary on how agriculture and the world’s food consumption has affected everything on it. This issue of sustainability is is becoming a more relevant topic as years go on due to climate change as well as the ever-growing population that was also discussed in the article. They were statistics saying in the documentary that more than 60% of the United States is purely focused on agriculture and that of raising cattle and fruits and vegetables. what I think people don’t realize is that with the increasing amount of people on the earth the amount of resources that have to be put to support their population is dwindling and the research that we are using are not renewable. also in a documented it showed a farmer that showed a proper way of actually raising cattle instead of having to bunch them all together and have them raise like a manufacturing plant. The process was very simple and a sense of where it was just like back in the day when farming was less a processing line and more a natural process. Coming back to the topic of dwindling resources over on the West Coast in Middle America this is where most of the farming is done and in that area’s it’s been shown that the water supply is dwindling very quickly and is not being able to replenish it as quickly as it is being used. I remember in the documentary and talked about how farmers were using a drip system to water their crops, The farmers actually said that the written method was not actually working well enough with the resources that they were using (water). The farmers themselves even said that last year was one of the worst droughts since I believe the 1950s. I think with the moral issue with dealing with future lives needs to be addressed, in the article it discuss a lot about how future lived need to be accounted for when thinking about sustainability. This is true and I’ve seen it in a lot of the news that governments are beginning to implement a more sustainable sense of agriculture as well as using resources, in the past years before now a lot of governments would only think about the now especially with resources like oil, water, and food. These resources will eventually run out if government agencies do not implement a strategy to fix the situation. I think there are a lot of factors that also affect the sustainability of agriculture that wasn’t mentioned in the article. Those of such that are like economic issues, political issues, and topics of science like global warning. I remember seeing on the news that there is a lake or a large body of water in one of the countries in South America I believe it was Brazil or Argentina. The large body of water had dried up and the country itself could not find a reliable source of water and the citizens of the country were actually protesting in writing for resources because of the fact that they had no more water. Some economic issues that affect countries and the resources that you need to become sustainable or find solutions to non-renewable sources are relatable to countries like Russia. I’m not sure if this is 100% true but I remember hearing something about Russia having economic issues with the resource of oil and it’s dwindling supply in Russia causing them to wage war against a country like Syria where oil is abundant, which now headlines the news with the war with Russia and Syria. This is just one of the economic issues and it kind of ties into political issues. Sustainability in my opinion is the key to the survival of the human race on Earth. I remember seeing on the news that there is a college that began developing a way to replicate a burger without having to raise cattle. I believe the process was similar to something I have a 3-D printer where the device would print proteins and build up a small burger, the Science is trying to burger and ruled it similar to an actual burger. The reason I bring this up is because it goes back to the topic of sustainability, this can be an alternative to avoiding the more mass production of meat and fruits and vegetables without having to take up more land. Land is a very important resource to that of sustainability because with the growing population it will take more land to raise more cattle to sustain that. Also with the raising population the demand for food is also increasing the demand for cheaper food. This is also the reason behind the issue of sustainability, we’re starting to treat agriculture like a factory and we’re not realizing the effect it has on the environment around us. With dealing with factories there’s always going to be a good output and bad output, with raising cattle you have to keep in mind the amount of waste that comes from the animals themselves. The amount of methane that is produced from the cattle themselves also contribute to global warming issue. There was a news article where I believe in North Carolina they had a pig raising farm and there’s an issue where the farm was close to a river that was used as a water supply and the pigs waste was very close to the water supply, and you could easily contaminate the water supply for the cities nearby. The sustainability of agriculture is very complex, there are so many factors that contribute to sustainability as well as factors that harm other aspects of life.
So far the only thing that I know about the service requirement for the class is that it is technically not voluntarily, but it is a part of a system that the college is trying to get more and more students to partake in a process of being a responsible student. When I read the article it displayed valid points that supported the idea, but it didn’t really give me a sense of security that the service was really needed. I understood the part that doing these service type classes will help ready students to be citizens but there was no real support that would benefit myself other than the citizen concept. Don’t get me wrong I’m all about helping the community in any way possible but the pros to cons are equivalent. Some of the hopes that I have about the service is just being able to help the community by providing food for those that cannot either obtain or afford it. I also am looking forward to the actual service itself, this is the first time that I’ve had a class that isn’t based around the standard curriculum where you sit in the class go chapter after chapter. I like the idea that I’m able to get credit towards my degree while going out and helping the community at the same time. I really don’t have any fears about the service itself but a concern I have not necessarily with the service itself but again with the course requirement of twenty plus hours. I understand that I should be able to complete this even without going to the actual farm itself in Fairfield but with everything going on currently I’m not sure if I will be able to achieve the twenty. I am also interested in the business aspect of the service since I am a marketing major, it will be a learning experience for sure. Some other aspects that have caught my attention are the things that will contribute to the twenty hours outside of the farm itself, what kind of work will it be? Will it be spreadsheet type work? Will it be developing a plan for future students of the class? How will the students at Fairfield Middle School be incorporated in the farm and how will we as a class interact with the students? Some more hopes that I have about the service is that it will teach me more about the community itself because I actually did not know that Richmond had urban farms. I actually hope that my contribution to the farm will help with the development of future farms spread throughout Richmond. I’ve seen urban farms out in cities like Detroit and Los Angeles and the concept is really interesting and a great contribution to community where poverty is prominent. I hope that the service will give me a new insight on the community as well as views on the world itself. I hope that my contribution will help bring more awareness to those that were once in my shoes and help bring the community together. My previous experiences that I’m bringing to the service itself is partially relevant to it, it actually ranges from retail experience to manual labor. I myself don’t have an issue with doing hard labor, I’ve worked in positions where there’s dirt and grime and having to lift/move objects constantly. I don’t know how my retail experience will contribute into the service, I hope that I can somehow find a way to do so. I think that some of my experiences helps make the service experience seem less like a chore and more enjoyable. I know that some people will see the service this way and I understand that to some labor is just not their cup of tea but I guess the best way to make it enjoyable or even tolerable is to remember that the service on the farm is helping others in the community and is not just a mundane task for school. Also an interesting point that came to mind is, I know that Richmond in general has crazy weather patterns. So when the weather ends up on the worse end for a long period of time and the ability to service on the farm is inaccessible, what type of things will be doing outside of the actual service. Will we be going to the farmer’s market and helping the middle school with the sales? Will there be days where service on the farm is available during the week instead of just the weekend? What other obstacles that the farm itself faces other than the obvious weather situation? Jumping to the end of the course; will there be opportunities after this semester to help out on the farm? Jumping back to the relevance of my major and its contribution to the service; I would like to see some sort of way to incorporate this into the farm. I know that this service on the farm will help myself grow more as a person and also give me more insight/aspect on the world around us. From the first class when Troy; I think that’s his name, explained the farm and its contribution to the city I think helped solidify my comfort in actually doing service learning. My knowledge coming into the service learning as previously explained will help, I’m sure for the majority of the service learning. If it’s manual labor then yeah, there’s not going to be a problem with that. When I signed up for the class I first thought it would be a food “wellness” class emphasis on wellness being like what to eat, how such and such pertains to our health. I think the best thing to do when going into something new; because being a business major I was not expecting this, is to go into this with an open mind and try not to grovel while I am there. There’s really no point in being miserable working towards the twenty hours, might as well make the most out of it and have fun.
Looking forward to seeing the farm and learning more about the city’s food infrastructure
Favorite drink to sip on a rainy day is coffee
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