The following readings provide valuable perspectives on vertical farming and urban agriculture within a variety of spaces.
Chaudhry, A., Mishra, V.P. 2019. “A Comparative Analysis of Vertical Agriculture Systems in Residential Apartments.” Conference: 2019 Advances in Science and Engineering Technology International Conferences.
This article details multiple vertical farming methods and suggests multiple locations for growing in urban spaces. The advantages and disadvantages detailed for each technology and location can be applied to similar locations in Carlisle. The advantages will help us determine what technologies and spaces may be most successful. The disadvantages will help us pinpoint the challenges that we need to focus on when suggesting technologies and spaces for growing in Carlisle.
Al-Kodmany, K. 2018. “The Vertical Farm: A review of Developments and Implications for the Vertical City.” Buildings. 8(2):24.
This article provides background for why vertical farming in urban spaces is necessary. This article recognizes many of the challenges that vertical farming addresses. This list can help us determine what challenges are relevant to Carlisle. This article also addresses some problems that vertical farming may contribute to. These will be important to consider when recommending vertical farming practices to implement in Carlisle.
The Real Food Challenge is an organization that trains and supports students leading campaigns demanding a shift in the food available on their campus to support local, humane farms and advocate for greater consideration of environmental consequences. Their goal is to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets from industrial farms and unhealthy food to these kinds of foods that are better for us and our environment. This provides a framework of action that we can learn from and language that we can adapt to our own food choice campaign.
“Home.” Real Food Challenge, www.realfoodchallenge.org/.
Fort Lewis College of Durango, Colorado has signed on with Real Food Challenge, what has a set of food standards for lower environmental impact and healthier food products. On Fort Lewis College’s Environmental Center blog, a particularly interesting post describes the result of the most recent Vote Real campaign, a vote held for the student body to decide between two options that their dining services should implement. The choice was between buying from an organic yogurt producer and a farm that produces humanely-raised pork, the pork coming out on top. This is a fantastic system, and will provide insight on how student-led campaigns can produce change in a college’s dining services.
Thorne, A F. “Fort Lewis College Environmental Center Blog.” Fort Lewis College Environmental Center Blog, Fort Lewis College, 21 Feb. 2018, http://blogs.fortlewis.edu/ec/category/teams-projects/real-food-challenge/.
You’re listening to The Reflecting Pod with Hannah Findling, coming to you in February 2020 from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. Today’s episode will feature my reflections on a presentation given in my food studies capstone seminar. Last week in class, Dickinson College’s Professor of Chinese Language and Literature Rae Yang visited to discuss the popular Chinese social media influencer Li Ziqi.
Li Ziqi is a 29 year old woman from Sichuan province in rural China. She rose to internet popularity in 2016 when she began posting her beautifully shot and edited start-to-finish videos of her life. She posts regularly across social media and has over 22 million followers on Weibo and another 8.3 million on YouTube, despite the website’s officially blocked status in China.
Professor Yang showed our class one of Li Ziqi’s videos, in which she prepares multiple recipes featuring tender bamboo shoots, fermented long beans, and other salad-type dishes. The video was incredibly well shot, and showcased a life lush with color, nature, and beauty. As we were watching, Professor Yang also made note of the fact that Li Ziqi cooks on a stove which she built herself, in another video series where she builds furniture using the raw natural materials in her rural surroundings. In other videos, she weaves her own cloth, dyes it using fruit skins, and crafts it lovingly into a tunic, all backed by a relaxing score of flute music.
The tranquility and idyllic rural lifestyle portrayed in Li Ziqi’s videos is undeniably enviable. I would give anything to spend my afternoons harvesting perfectly ripe home-grown produce for my meals instead of spending them in the library studying. The other students in the class expressed similar sentiments, with Professor Yang agreeing.
Li Ziqi has attained more than social media following and was named a “good young netizen” by the Communist party of China in 2018 and was honored by People’s Daily with a People’s Choice award in September of 2019. The Chinese government has praised Li Ziqi as well, commending her display of Chinese culture and traditional values.
Professor Yang then went on to explain that while a large part of her viewers love Li Ziqi’s videos and long for a simpler rural life, critics have posed that Li Ziqi does not represent China as it really is.
In reality, 40% of China’s population live in rural areas, many of whom live lives of hard
Agricultural labor and cope with the effects of environmental damage and pollution which spreads from the large cities. Many Chinese youth have migrated to cities to seek lucrative employment, and have suffered from burnout, high levels of pollution, and an extreme cost of living in order to support their aging family members who remain in rural China.
In reflecting on the discussion Professor Yang facilitated in class and on what I had learned about Li Ziqi, I returned home and dug a bit deeper into this mysterious figure’s online presence. I watched more of her videos and explored her many fan accounts. One of the most interesting things I found during my search was an article published by the Marketing division of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. In this article, Li Ziqi is said to portray the kind of image of China that someone like Martha Stewart portrays of the United States. The authenticity portrayed by both of these cooking icons is undeniable and conveys images of a simpler life in which one can afford the time and energy to prepare unique multi-course meals. However, just as Martha Stewart does not accurately portray the American working class, Li Ziqi does not reflect the reality of life in China.
Li Ziqi’s work serves as an incredible form of soft propaganda for the Chinese government. She showcases an idyllic life in the bamboo-forested countryside and embodies Chinese values of family heritage and portrays examples of the traditional methods of food preparation and harvesting. Both domestically in China and abroad, her videos cultivate a longing for a deeper connection with nature and a distancing from the clamor of modern life. Without, or perhaps with, intention, Li Ziqi has cultivated a perfect image of China- but has left out the reality of the environment in which she operates.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Professor Yang for sharing her time and knowledge with us, and would like to thank you, the listener. This has been another episode of the Reflecting Pod with Hannah Findling, signing off from Dickinson College here in Carlisle, PA
References and More:
The link below is my response to the videos of LiZiqi and the film Tampopo.