In birth, the final unit of the Food for Thought course, the assignment was to create a poster containing four panels that represented four periods in agricultural history as taught in the course — life, decay, death, and birth. The purpose of the assignment was to demonstrate our understanding of these four periods in history. It was also designed to have us contemplate the future of sustainable food production.
I first came up with three keywords and/or concepts that stood out to me the most in each of the four periods in agricultural history — life, decay, death, and birth. I brainstormed images that could represent my keywords and concepts. Then, I browsed creative commons for images. I put my poster together. I also wrote an explanation of each of the four panels to go along with my poster.
With the industrialization of food, a lot of processed food has been brought onto the market. Farmers have abandoned old farming techniques and have turned to conventional farming. This method of farming is very destructive to the environment. The ideal food system would rely on a variety of growing methods such as organic, biodynamic, agriforesty, and biointensive methods. We cannot just rely on one farming method to sustain us. We must rely on many, because our planet is so diverse. Also, we need to support local farmers by buying our food from farmers markets whenever we can.
You can read the explanation to my poster below.
My poster represents the four different periods of agriculture history as covered in the Food for Thought course — life, death, decay, and birth. The first panel, life, illustrates early agriculture, the domestication of animals, and early society. A picture of a farm represents agriculture. The domestication of animals is represented by a picture of two cows, with the heading above them that says, “Got milk?” This symbolizes how early society learned how to domesticate cows for their milk. Society is represented by a picture of four people fitting puzzle pieces together to form a circle. This depicts the unification of society. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs represents how society was able to fulfill basic needs. The fulfillment of these needs enabled them to practice agriculture and domesticate animals.
The second panel, death, illustrates global trade, our global food system, and monoculture. A picture of a map represents global trade. It shows where various commodities, primarily food, are traded around the world. Our global food system is represented by the distribution chain of the banana, which is illustrated on a picture of a globe. The banana is grown in Ecuador among other places in South America. By ship, it is transported to the U.S. where it is sold to consumers. A harvested field of potatoes represents monoculture. This symbolizes the Irish Potato Famine. This famine shows that our food system cannot rely upon monoculture. Instead, we must cultivate a variety of crops to sustain populations.
The third panel, decay, illustrates the industrialization of food, the food industry, and the American diet. I represented the industrialization of food with a picture of a factory with various foods floating above it. I represented the food industry with the words “Food Industry” written in the palm of a hand. The word, “Monsanto” is written above it. This illustrates how Monsanto, the largest biotech corporation, has a monopoly on the food industry. The corporation has the industry in its palm. The American diet is represented by a version of the painting ‘American Gothic.’ The farmer and his spinster daughter are standing in front of McDonalds. The farmer’s pitchfork is holding a Big Mac. This symbolizes how unhealthy the average American diet is.
The fourth panel, life, illustrates the future of our food system. I represented eating food locally with a picture of a farmer’s market. There is a picture of the earth with the recycling symbol surrounding it. Standing along the perimeter of the symbol, are green people holding hands. This represents how mankind needs to be eco-friendly. In order for our planet to be a better place, it must be a joint effort. Around the earth, are several methods of farming that are written out, “Biodynamic, agriforesty, biointensive, and organic farming.” This shows how we must rely on a variety of farming methods to feed the world. The picture of a happy, healthy boy eating an organic apple, represents how we should eat a healthy diet. In addition, the picture represents how we should try to eat as many organic foods as possible.
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