When thinking about what to write for this blog, my friend suggested that I write a “battle plan” for how to eat a good meal at the Deece. I thought that her idea was actually really interesting, so I started keeping track of what I did when I went to the Deece every day. Having lived at Vassar here for almost a full academic year, I noticed that I now follow a Deece routine. For example, while eating, the people at our table got up to get more food four times per meal on average. By the end of our meal, the table was covered with plates and bowls. It then struck me just how much food was available to us—people were even taking food back to their dorms in Tupperware and sneaking fruit into their backpacks.
Looking back at my battle plan on how to eat in the Deece, I realized that for some people in the world, figuring out how to eat is an actual battle. There are so many hungry people in the world, yet here we are in the Deece, overindulging ourselves with food. Thinking about this fact remind me of my Sociology class today, during which we wrapped up the semester by discussing general problems surrounding food and what in the world we are going to do about them. We as a generation are so lucky to be able to eat foods that aren’t native to our homeland; when we go out to eat, we get to decide between Italian, Indian, Chinese, or Japanese cuisine. However, this is because globalization and the expansion of industry has allowed for the spread of cultures and foods.
Many people will be unhappy if that variety of foods and cuisines is taken away from us in return for equality in the food industry. So what can we do for positive change to happen? The idea that came to me was that people will only start caring about the food industry when the upper class starts to get affected negatively. If a community is poor or inhabited by minorities, they are likely to receive less protection against environmental risks than an affluent or white community. The distribution of the minority groups is highly correlated with the geographical locations of landfills, toxic waste dumps, and incinerators. Once we run out of space in poor communities, we will have to move on to affluent neighborhoods. Will we start to change how industries and factories function only then? This not a very good battle plan.
As for what is a good way to approach this, I honestly can’t say. There are so many elements of the food industry that make it corrupt and unfair for the lower class. We need to be conscious of the corruption, and maybe one day people will work together to fight for a better, cleaner, and healthier food system in which everyone can have a satisfying meal and plentiful of food. Until then, the best thing that you can do is to educate and inform yourself. When you make a decision to help the planet and its people, try your best to stick to it, knowing that you’re helping the situation in one way or another.
Hope you enjoyed the food posts this semester!