My FutureLearn 'Our Hungry Planet' course is very interesting, I've fallen a bit behind even though I have now quit WoW, but due to trying to sort the house out, and it takes aggggggges (grrr) at least there are no dreaded essays or TMAs so it is not a big deal if I fall a bit behind I can catch up.
For the last couple of days I have been reading and learning about the history of food (for a history buff and a foodie this is like heaven). I've found it really fascinating learning about early agriculture and how hunter-gatherers became farmers and landowners during the 'Neolithic Revolution' around 10,000 years ago. It makes me wonder how they became land owners though, how did the hierarchy start? Who or what decided who was a landowner and who was a worker? How did they even get workers in the first place? So many questions. The course has lead me through the ages, from the earliest forms of agriculture and how culture and technology has changed up to the 21st century. From the buffalo pulling the plough in 100 BC in China to the explorers in the 1800's bringing home food from other parts of the world. The industrial revolution saw regional markets open up to the world through road rail and sea. Now we have tractors working the land we use fertilizers and pesticides and animals are artificially inseminated so supermarkets can make more money but at what cost?
This article makes a really interesting and persuasive argument that I am inclined to agree with The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race the title is rather emotive but it's a fascinating read touching on many of the questions I have asked above.
My opinion on the global food system is full of pros and cons. It's wonderful we can have anything we want from anywhere in the world whenever we want it. However, it takes its toll on the land, and the people growing the food. Poorer people are forced to eat less nutritious food and lack of food education does little to help. Pesticides are killing off the honey bee, travel miles mean that transporting the food 1000s of miles is not good for the planet. Food is processed and added too to make it go further and animals are farmed in horrific ways to make more money for the supermarkets. To alleviate the negative effects I think governments and local farmers should work together to encourage people to eat food grown locally and in season to reduce the carbon footprint of our food. I think more research should be put into finding more natural pesticides that won't kill off 'pests' and bees, merely deter them away from crops. I also think people should be encouraged to grow their own food and herbs in gardens and homes.
In other news I'm really looking forward to the weekend and the Birmingham Wildlife Festival and Badger March there will be lots of vegan food and stalls. There will also be loads of people uniting for a wonderful cause which can only be a good thing.