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GGR107H1 Lecture Notes - Fordism

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Tuesday May 14th- Geo Lecture One
Using food as a lens to understand people- the way we’ve grown and experienced
food as a new thing.
There is a linear idea of the food system. The things that come from outside the
system (politics, economic factors) affect the process.
When we evoke the concept of a system, it demands that we consider those
elements as more than just a chain of events, but as a system and the interconnection of
those elements. The connections are made, constructed, by people.
With the concept of a spider-web to explain the system, the whole entity is only as
strong as it’s weakest point. The strong strands can strengthen the web as a whole, but the
weak can damage it entirely.
Domestication of agriculture, we really begin to tame and shape nature. There was
a surplus production of food, which gave people more time to do things that would have
been used to gather food. A shift, described as one of the biggest changes in food history.
Globalization really began with the need, in Britain, to feed the poor.
The farm became more like a factory and adopted that Fordist model. A system
based on mass production, succeeded by creating more food than needed. We spend less
of our budgets on food than lots of places. We are producing more food than we need.
We can distinguish corporate logos and yet we can’t recognize the very seeds that
give us our food.
Despite the success of cheaper and better foods, there are serious problems, that
we call externalities or unintended consequences. For ex, environmental, social, health
costs. There is more than enough food to feed the entire population. The number of
hungry people is increasing.
Four lenses we’ll use throughout this course (themes);
Social justice- social and material (in)equity. Since 1985, farmers have
been making zero profit. We’re losing about 67 farms a week.
Ecological Sustainability- human and ecological systems and the
biodiversity of those systems. Waste, packaging, deforestation is a big
Healthy communities- economic and social conditions that shape
individual and community health. Our nutrient-deficient diet is adding to
certain health risks and obesity.
Democracy- public participation and decision-making. We have a handful
of food and beverage companies that bottleneck the system. The alienation
of people from their food.
Food presents an opportunity for analysis and action- food is personal; food is
political. It connects the scales of our everyday lives to broader (national, global) issues.
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