Author: kubaskao

Food and the New England Environment: From early history to the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

I grew up in a small, historic town on the coast of Massachusetts called Ipswich, named after Ipswich England when English settlers populated the area in the early 1600s. This area, along with the rest of coastal New England has a very rich and dynamic history with food. This region has a large variety of ecosystems and landscapes, all abundant with different species that have been used as food by humans for hundreds of years. In just a few miles you encounter ocean, beaches, marshes, wetlands, pastureland and forests. In the ocean, fish, lobster, and eels are abundant. On the shorelines, mudflats and marshes are clams, crabs, mussels, and oysters. Grassy fields provide a space for gardening and raising pasture animals, and the forest hosts game animals such as rabbits, turkey, and deer as well as rivers yielding freshwater fish.

I have always taken an interest in these landscapes and the culture behind the food that they provide. My family has taken advantage of these amazing food sources provided by this region for four generations. Therefore, I am interested in researching how Native Peoples and the English settlers used the food resources available to them in this region and how it shaped the food culture in coastal New England in relation to my families own history of “living off of the land” and how it has shaped our values and perspective towards food resources then and now.

Inhabitants of coastal New England have been able to use the area’s diverse and abundant ecosystems as a source of food security for hundreds of years. This research project is unique in that it provides a mix of historical and academic information as well as personal anecdotes from my family’s experience in this area. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home orders, I thought it would be useful to analyze the past and present relationship between New Englanders and their connection to food found in their environments. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, my family and other people in this area have an opportunity to use these ecosystems and the food that they provide in an attempt to combat food security, keeping in mind the lessons about resource limits that humans have met throughout our history in this area.

 

History and Food

Before the English settlers laid their claim on this region, the New England area was inhabited by Native peoples. At this time, the Native peoples obtained food solely from what was available in the surrounding environment. Across New England Native people “foraged seasonally for nuts, tubers, berries, and on the coast, the occasional stranded whale. They hunted deer waterfowl, and other game and harvested freshwater and saltwater shellfish and fish, including migrating herring and salmon” (Donahue et al, 2014: 4). When the English started to populate the area, they brought with them different cultural values towards food, and in most cases, viewed the food that the natives ate as second-class and were slow to adopt a lot of what was available to them into their diets, with the exception of when they faced food shortages (Stayley, 2004: 89). Through a historical analysis of the food eaten by both the Native peoples and the English settlers as well as the value that each group placed on the foods in the coastal New England region provides a very strong explanation for food culture in early history.

Native peoples used the marine ecosystems to their advantage before the arrival of the English settlers, they would gather fish and shellfish year-round (Stayley, 2004: 77). There is archeological evidence to show that Native peoples roasted or baked clams in oysters in shallow round pits usually lined with seaweed as a way of creating steam and heat so that the shellfish would open (Stayley, 2004: 78) However when the settlers arrived they took an entirely new perspective on these resources. It is a commonly known story that the early English Settlers had a very difficult time surviving the harsh winters due to food scarcity. This issue also occurred in the Massachusetts Bay Colony; the settlers came over with their own set of ideas for what foods were considered acceptable based on their culture and the added: “Indian enthusiasm for clams [and other fish and shellfish] undoubtedly lowered their value in the English eyes” (Stayley, 2004: 89). As a result, there have been reports where, “with frequent periods of food scarcity in the early years of New England, the association of fish-eating with bad times was only strengthened (Stayley, 2004: 77). In a statement made by Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor, John Winthrop discussing the period of food scarcity in 1642, he lamented the fact that during this time, “many families were forced to live off clams, mussels and dry fish” (Stayley, 2004: 77).

After about a hundred years of the English settlers only eating shellfish out of necessity, they slowly began to be appreciated and adopted into New England cuisine while retaining their old associations with sustenance. In 1829, Lyndia Maria Child presented them in her cookbook as an “inexpensive everyday fare”, creating a recipe for boiled clams consisting of nothing but clams and water (Stayley, 2004: 90). Slowly, the reputation of shellfish began to improve and traditions of clambakes began to develop, however, clams were still considered a “recreational shellfish, appropriate for clambakes and other casual affairs, and not a food to offer guests at an important meal” (Stayley, 2004: 95). Finally, on July 3, 1916 the fried clam was invented by Lawrence ‘Chubby’ Woodman in Essex, MA and the dish has been a staple of New England culture and cuisine ever since (New England Historical Society, 2019). Now, clamming has turned into a significant industry, and to the people of the Cape Ann region, it provides economic survival (Harris, 2014).

Fishing also gradually became the first significant industry in New England as the years progressed. The early Native practices of groundfishing were quickly adopted by settlers who then adapted it to be more efficient, employing larger boats and more extensive fishing gear (NOAA, 2019). From the 1600s through the 1800s this fishing industry took off in the New England area, particularly the markets for mackerel and cod (Donahue et al, 2014, 5). From 1860 to 1910, fishing fleets expanded, landing millions of fish, creating a boom in the associated shipbuilding and fish processing businesses (Donahue et al., 2014: 6). Fishing was not only just an economic opportunity for coastal New England, in its early years, the maritime culture was also developed with importance placed upon “organized social drinking” (Stayley, 2004: 74). Like the clamming industry, the fishing industry transitioned from low-level food eaten only in times of struggle, to a booming industry that has created strong cultural and economic significance for the area (Tower, 1911: 284).

A third early source of food that has persisted since the Native peoples inhabited coastal New England are game animals such as deer, turkey, rabbit, and pheasant. Before the settlers arrived, Native peoples obtained fresh meat from “hunting the animals in their environment” which is what made up the majority of their diet (Stayley, 2004: 150). When arriving in New England, the settlers were again, not keen on this type of food because if its association with Native life (Stayley, 2004: 150). Even though the English had a “previous association with hunting and venison with the aristocracy”, because the act of hunting wild game was associated with Native peoples, they initially did not want anything to do with it. However, hunting did end up being quickly adopted because it was the most familiar way of obtaining food based off of their previous cultural views. In addition, it would have been very difficult to obtain any substantive food if the game, fish, and shellfish were all out of the picture.

Going forward, hunting was considered a very normal way of getting food, however, as livestock animals were quickly introduced back into New England culture, this practice became less of a necessity. Today, game animals like deer are considered pests and require hunting to keep the populations down for the survival of the forests (Donahue et al, 2014: 23). At present, the New England deer herd is about 600,000, with an annual harvest of only about 75,000 (Donahue et al, 2014: 23).

The final food source I researched is cultivated land in the New England area. Before the Settlers arrived, Native peoples mainly foraged for things like berries, nuts, and tubers and used a three-sister cropping method to grow and cultivate corn, beans, and squash. Upon arrival, the Settlers had a very different idea of what their crop production would look like which is what we see today in areas of New England that are still being farmed. In fact, America’s oldest working farm is in Ipswich, MA and the land continues to be farmed today (“Appleton Farms”, 2020). The farm was established in 1638 by Samuel Appleton for growing vegetables, corn, and hay and eventually expanded into beef and dairy (“Appleton Farms”, 2020). For the most part, early colonial farming was aimed at “household subsistence and exchange with neighbors” and typically did not expand past that point (Donahue et al, 2014: 5). Current New England food production follows a similar trend, food production has significantly declined in this region (Donahue et al, 2014: 7). Today, the only major sources of farming are dairy production in Vermont, cranberries in Massachusetts, and blueberries in Maine (Donahue et al, 2014: 7).

 

My Family and Food

Food and the culture surrounding it changed in a very interesting and rapid way as settlers came to the New England area. In the beginning, food was based on survival although these settlers did not want to associate themselves with the practices of the Native Peoples they had no choice, otherwise they would not be able to survive during times of food scarcity. From this struggle, a culture of foods native to this area began to develop as time went on. My own family has lived through generations where food was scarce and have in some ways mirrored historical development in terms of our relationship to food and how we utilize and view the food that is available in our surroundings, especially during times of economic hardship.

Following the history on my father’s side of the family back to 1942 when my grandfather was born. At this time, living in a rural area of Massachusetts money for fresh groceries was difficult to come by. So my grandfather learned how to hunt, garden, fish, and raise animals. Unlike the picky settlers of New England, there was no discrimination of what food was to be eaten due to cultural reasons. My grandfather learned at a very young age to use what was available in his surrounding environments to feed himself. He was practically raised outside, learning how to hunt shoot and skin animals, fishing, and gardening.

Fast forward to when my father and his siblings were born. Hunting and growing food was less of a necessity due to economic stability. By this time, my grandfather owned land as well as a machine shop in town, but he continued to hunt, fish, grow vegetables, and raise animals as more of a hobby than a necessity for food. He believed that it was very important for my father and uncle to learn these skills, so they spent their childhoods following him around and learning how to use what was provided by the surrounding environment to their advantage. Over time my father really grew to appreciate the areas diverse and abundant ecosystems and stayed in the New England area when he moved out of the house. Moving to a Ipswich, MA which is a culmination of the dense and diverse forest, streams, and agricultural land he was used to with the addition of the ocean and tidal zones that provide a second layer of local food potential.

In Ipswich, my father maintains hobbies such as open water fishing, shellfishing, clamming, hunting and gardening all in one area. At present, the use of hunted and fished foods has become more of a special treat in our family given that time is a significant factor in enjoying these foods. Since my father was able to go to college and has had a full-time job since, these activities have really become a hobby and a luxury that he enjoys when he has time to do so. My family now considers things like steamed clams, fresh oysters, fish, and meat luxury items that we enjoy on special occasions and that we share with people, unlike the early settlers who considered this type of fare simple, or second class.

Flash forward to the current 2020 pandemic, the local food items that we just a few months ago considered as a special treat may soon become a necessity as there are now per person limits to meat and fish in grocery stores. The upside to this situation is that, with the stay at home orders that accompany the pandemic, my family has more time to pursue these activities of hunting and producing our own food should grocery store food continue to be restricted. Since my family has more time to use the resources available to us, we have begun to expand our garden in order to produce more fresh food which can be scarce in the grocery stores. And my father and brother have more time to pursue fishing, shellfishing and hunting.

Looking back at my family’s history and values towards food living in coastal New England and mirroring it with the experience of the Native peoples and the English Settlers, it is clear that there is a place for people to use the local game land, fisheries, and fertile soil as a way of potentially combatting food security in this region. Inhabitants of coastal New England have been able to use this area’s diverse and abundant ecosystems as a source of food security for hundreds of years. With this current pandemic, people in this area have the opportunity to use these ecosystems and the food that they provide to improve their own food security.

 

Knowing the Limits

Between what I have discovered about colonial New England as well as my family’s own skills of hunting and fishing that have been developed over the years that could prove useful in this pandemic, the values and lessons learned from past years of dealing with food shortages and overfishing cannot go undiscussed. For example, many people worry that our agricultural food system will fail during the pandemic so they are turning to home gardening again to that resemble the victory gardens during World War I (Rao, 2020). The gardening people are doing today in an attempt to “build their own community-based food security” are similar to the colonial gardens that were meant to be a source of subsistence for households and their neighbors (Rao, 2020).

Another lesson to be learned from the colonial struggle with food security is the limits of the environment. Overfishing is the best example of exceeding the limits of the environment. As previously mentioned, mackerel and cod were the most sought after fish in the industry. However, when the fishing industry began to take off, the Atlantic cod, specifically, was fished to near extinction. This not only hurt the food supply but the overexploitation of the fisheries cause the fishing industry to shrink and it became difficult to “support historical fishing community such as Gloucester and New Bedford, Massachusetts” (NOAA, 2019). With the disappearance of many fish species the need to “reduce the impact of the food system on the environment” became urgent (Godfray, 2010: 812). This resulted in this creation of limits to the amount that a company or individual can harvest from the fisheries at a given time. For example, my family’s fishing license restricts us to two fish of at least 32 inches a day as well as regulations on what type of fishing equipment we are allowed to use. It has taken several decades for the Atlantic Cod to just begin to repopulate the area, which is not a mistake that should be made twice given what is now know about the limits to these environments.

A third, more relevant lesson is happening now to the clam populations in the Cape Ann area of Massachusetts. Due to varied environmental conditions as well as the gradual overfishing of these clams, the availability of clams in the area has been dwindling (Harris, 2014). The gradual decline of this resource has resulted in economic repercussions for those who dig clams for a living. Similar to the fishing industry, permits have been issued determining the maximum number of clams a person can dig depending on if they have a commercial or a recreational license, there is also a size requirement for the clams that you can collect. If a clam is under a certain length it has to go back, and if you are found with “illegal” sized clams you will be issued a fine. The same is true for deer and turkey populations in the area although there is less of a concern over underpopulation for those species.

The New England area has continued to provide excellent resources for the people living in the region to obtain food security. As exemplified by the history of settlers in this region, in times of food insecurity, it was the local food produced by the regions abundant ecosystems that got them through. Although these foods were only considered essential to survival and would not have been acceptable; otherwise, they were slowly adopted into the diets and food culture of the settlers. In the case of my own family, food obtained from our surroundings as always been valued, whether it be through a matter of necessity, a hobby, or considered a luxury. It has always been an important part of my family’s culture to be able to obtain food from the surrounding environment. In the face of this current pandemic, it is important to note that those much like my family who value and appreciate the food sources that are available in this region as a way of not only improving food security but as a way of providing mental clarity in these difficult times through tasks like hunting, fishing or gardening. Finally, since people will be turning to their surroundings for sources of food, the lessons that can be learned from past periods of overfishing and overharvesting are extremely important to consider in order to ensure that history does not repeat itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

“Appleton Farms”. Historic Ipswich: On The Massachusetts North Shore. Retrieved from

https://historicipswich.org/appleton-farms/

 

Donahue, B., Burke, J., Anderson, M., Beal, A., Kelly, T., Lapping, M., . . . Berlin, L. A New

England Food Vision: Healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing, thriving communities. Durham, NH: Food Solutions New England. 2014. Retrieved from, https://fic.briteweb.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/LowResNEFV_0.pdf

 

Godfray, H. Charles J., et al. “Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion

People.” Science, vol. 327, no. 5967, 2010, pp. 812–818. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40509896. Accessed 10 Apr. 2020.

 

Harris, Gordon. “Clamming on Cape Ann”, On The Waterfront. 2014. Retrieved from

https://historicipswich.org/2015/09/01/clamming-on-cape-ann/

 

New England Historical Society. “The Invention of the Fried Clam. 2019. Retrieved from

https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/the-invention-of-the-fried-clam/

 

NOAA. “A Brief History of the Groundfishing Industry of New England”. NOAA Fisheries,

  1. Retrieved from https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/new-england-mid-atlantic/commercial-fishing/brief-history-groundfishing-industry-new-england

 

Rao, Tejal. “Food Supply Anxiety Brings Back Victory Gardens.” The New York Times,

  1. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/dining/victory-gardens-coronavirus.html

 

Stavely, Keith., and Kathleen. Fitzgerald. America’s Founding Food The Story of New England Cooking. The University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

 

Tower, Walter S. “Reviews : McFarland, Raymond. A History of the New England Fisheries”

The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 38, no. 3, Sage Publications, Nov. 1911, pp. 284–85, doi:10.1177/000271621103800337.

 

 

Massachusetts: Food Security Issues- Covid-19 2020

Sullivan et al. Stay-at-Home Advisory, Non-essential Shutdown Take Effect In Massachusetts. 10 Boston, March 24, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/stay-at-home-advisory-business-shutdown-to-begin-in-massachusetts-tuesday/2096286/

 

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Covid-19 Update from The Food Bank. Retrieved from https://www.foodbankwma.org/covid-19-update-from-the-food-bank/

 

Li, Irene, Let’s Really Talk About SNAP and Food Insecurity. WBUR, April 9, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.wbur.org/artery/2019/04/09/snap-commentary-food-insecurity

 

Vital Village, Food Access in Boston: A data story from our neighborhood. Retrieved from https://www.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=1a84ebffe76b4cd38a3758e84a24ca1c

 

Martin, Liam, Mobile Farmers Market Offers Healthy Food to Neighbors with Limited Access. CBS Boston, July 27, 2017. Retrieved from https://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/07/27/mobile-farmers-market/

 

Kuschner, Erin, Public school students can pick up free breakfast and lunch while schools are closed, Boston.com,  March 16, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.boston.com/food/local-news-2/2020/03/13/boston-public-schools-free-meals-for-students

Li Ziqi

https://soundcloud.com/user-85265706-298130559/li-ziqi-podcast

Project Readings

Niñez, Vera, “Household-level food production”, Food and Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 7, no.3. 1985.  Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/156482658500700306

This article discusses both the historical and cultural significance of home gardening, comparing it to other local methods of food production as a way of showing its necessity in terms of food security. This article will act as a great resource for my group’s project because it provides a background for why it is essential to growing food in small places. In addition, it discusses how smaller gardens fit into economics and nutrition.

 

Perini, Katia, et al. “Vertical Greening Systems, a Process Tree for Green Façades and Living Walls.” Urban Ecosystems., vol. 16, no. 2, Chapman & Hall, June 2013, pp. 265–77, doi:10.1007/s11252-012-0262-3.

This article takes a broader approach to our group’s topic by discussing the capacity for food production in a larger system such as a city by creating vertical greening systems. This article discusses the different applications of urban food production, discussing green roofs, façades and living wall systems. This article is helpful because it broadens the scope of the project. Although we intend to use Carlisle as the audience of our project, it is important to see how the concept of vertical food production can be adapted to a larger-scale system and the creative ways in which that is being accomplished.

What I learned- Jessica Vooris

I did not previously know about the connection between food history and its link to feminist and lesbian movements. I was unaware of the fact that there was such a strong link between vegan/vegetarianism and lesbian identity that stemmed from the time that the comic was published. However, now that I think about it it makes sense that feminist, lesbian and environmental movements developed in tandem in relation to food as they did. Part of the activism surrounding vegan/vegetarianism was/is linked to feminist and equity values as it is usually women who are most affected by environmental externalities and therefore might be more inclined to want to make more environmentally conscientious decisions when it comes to the food that they consume.

A Perspective on Home Gardening With Prof. Douglas

For this assignment, I interviewed Professor Maggie Douglas on her perspective and experience as a home gardener. I already knew about Prof. Douglas’s opinions on large scale agricultural production from taking her agroecology course last semester, however, I was interested to learn more about her connection to food and food production.

In this blog post, I will discuss what I learned from my interview with Prof. Douglas and will use a combination of my own photos as well as ones I have found to visually support the interview.

 

Question 1: When did you start home gardening? Was there always a garden at your property or did you have to create one?

Home Garden

Prof. Douglas explained to me that she, like many students in the agroecology class had experience gardening and farming growing up, and had worked on several smaller farms before and during college. After school, when she was living in D.C., she was able to use the roof of her apartment building to create a small garden. Prof. Douglas described these experiences as not only a good way to produce some of her own food but as a great way to connect with her neighbors and do something relaxing.

Fast-forward to her move to Carlisle, Prof. Douglas explained that her now home garden started as a simple flower bed, which she and her husband have turned into what I understand to be a pretty impressive and productive garden. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible on the day of the interview so we did not walk over to see it.

 

Question 2: How do you manage pests in your garden?

Example of a large pest that might plague a garden. This groundhog was captured after eating everything in my own garden.

I asked this question because as an entomologist, I was sure that she would have an interesting answer as to how she keeps bugs at bay. Sure enough, Prof. Douglas was able to delve into a rather scientific discussion about the different pests she experiences in her gardening. She said that for the most part, she will handpick the bugs off of the plants since she can very easily recognize them. She also discussed how sometimes she will just let the bugs eat the crop if she knows that she will have more than she can eat anyway.

For larger pests, Prof. Douglas has installed a chicken wire fence to keep out groundhogs and rabbits. Apparently, rabbits run rampant in her neighborhood and will eat pretty much anything and everything.

Question 3: What do you consider to be the benefits of home gardening?

Happy agroecology students post-seed planting!

 In response to this question, Prof. Douglas said that she enjoys home gardening as a creative outlet that allows for a lot of stress relief for her, describing the act of gardening as almost a meditative activity. She also discussed how she loves the fact that with home gardening, you can grow exactly what you want, especially hybrid varieties that you couldn’t even find at a farmer’s market. To this response, she gave the example of the green seed pods that you get from letting cilantro go to seed. You cannot find this anywhere in Carlisle but she described that she likes to add them to her dishes, especially when cooking Southeast Asian dishes. The final benefit of home gardening that she described was that it is the best way to get to know your neighbors. She said that her neighbors will stop her and say hello whenever they see her out gardening and have developed a comradery between other neighbor gardeners by exchanging tips and tools.

Question 4: Do you save your seeds?

Coriander seed pods

This question I asked purely out of curiosity. In our agroecology class, we discussed seed saving a lot and I was interested to see how it was done on a smaller scale. To this question, Prof. Douglas responded yes, but only ones that are easy to save, usually dried beans, lettuce, and melons. As mentioned previously, she likes to experiment with hybrid crop varieties and seed saving is a great way to do that. She also discussed how their garden gets a lot of volunteer crops anyway, so most of the time she will just let some plants go to seed and see if they come up again the following year. Sometimes she will even find volunteer crops growing out of her compost pile.

 

Question 5: How much of your diet are you able to supplement when your garden is in peak season?

Peak season harvest

To this question, Prof. Douglas answered probably not a lot in terms of calories because they are not growing any grains, but they are pretty much able to supplement all of their vitamins and minerals during peak season. She also discussed how one year she decided to weigh all of the food that she and her husband produced just out of curiosity and it ended up being a significant amount. She also discussed that most of the time they can’t even eat all of the food that they produce so they will either give it away or preserve it for later use. According to Prof. Douglas, they produce about a half-year supply of potatoes and are able to can enough tomatoes and peppers to last them year-round.

Post Interview:

 After the interview, Prof. Douglas and I chatted about our respective gardens. From what I concluded from this discussion is that her garden is much larger and more thought out than my own. That being said, I believe that we have many of the same values and struggles when it comes to home gardening. I too find gardening to be a great creative outlet where I can relax. In addition, we had a very lively discussion about our different pest stories, mine involving a recurring groundhog problem and hers rabbit overpopulation. I also found that there was a lot that I can learn from Prof. Douglas and her gardening endeavors in terms of using crops in new ways as well as how to manage a larger garden.

Download (PPTX, 12.49MB)

My Food System

For this blog post, I started by researching the almond milk that I have in my fridge which happens to be the unsweetened, original almond milk from Trader Joe’s. I didn’t really think much about this product when I was purchasing it, I just picked it up when I went to Trader Joe’s in MA before I returned to campus.

The main ingredient in this almond milk is almonds, as it should be. When I set out to discover the origin of the almonds in this Trader Joe’s beverage, I was surprised that I really could not find the location anywhere. For I company that prides itself on its transparency, this seemed strange. The side of the carton reads “Dist. & Sold Exclusively By Trader Joe’s Monrovia, CA 91016” so I am going to assume that the almonds come from California. Additionally, in my research, I came across one petition against how Wholefoods and Trader Joe’s market their pasteurized almonds as raw almonds directed towards an issue of almonds being grown in California.

According to one article, published by Columbia University, almonds are unsurprisingly the biggest cash crop in California, attributing for over 80% of the World’s almond production in 2014. California’s Central Valley offers ideal growing conditions for almond trees, however, almond requires huge amounts of water, a resource that is quickly depleting in California. According to the article, the amount of water required for almond trees not only causes environmental concerns but is an economic burden on the farmer who has to sink more money into the expensive water.

Another product that I eat frequently is the Stonyfield organic probiotic yogurt made with plain whole milk. This product claims to contain BILLIONS of probiotics per serving and I purchased it at Weis in Carlisle. I wanted to research this product because it was one of the companies interviewed in Food Inc. and I have listened to the “How I Built This” podcast where Gary Hirshberg discussed how he built the company from the ground up. The first ingredient in this product is “cultured pasteurized organic whole milk” and the only other ingredients it contains (aside from its live active cultures) are pectin, and Vitamin D3.

The milk for this yogurt comes from a variety of farms. According to the Stonyfield website, in 2014 the company created a CROPP Cooperative with milk from a network of organic dairy farms existing of 1,800 family farms. The company promotes the humane treatment of animals in addition to their organic practices. Although there are no additives, hormones or synthetic fertilizers involved in the production processes, not all of the Stonyfield cows are 100% percent grass-fed as indicated by the fact that the company now sells “grass-fed Greek” yogurt, indicating that other cows are most likely fed a mixture of grass and other feed like oats, soy, grains, etc.

The origin of Stonyfield milk is unknown as it comes from a cooperative of farms. However, the Headquarters are in Londonderry, NH.

The third food that I analyzed was the eggs I eat pretty much every morning. I am always at a dilemma with eggs because either the responsibly produced eggs are double the price or they contain plastic packaging. On this trip to the grocery store, I decided to go with the cheaper option with the cardboard packaging. These eggs are distributed by Foodhold USA, LLC in Landover, MD which appears to be a partner of the Giant food company. From what I found on the internet this company produces/distributes a lot of different products and is not generally well-liked with an extensive list of customer complaints. According to the American Egg Board, the majority of the country’s eggs are produced in Iowa. I was not able to find exactly where the eggs I purchased were coming from but I am going they were produced in the Mid-West region.

I was also not able to find information on how these eggs were produced, but I am assuming that it was more of a factory environment rather than a cage-free, pasture environment, treating the hens more as cogs on a wheel than living creatures. That being said, I did read an article detailing that Giant Food Stores will be transitioning to 100% cage-free eggs by 2022.

From this exercise, I discovered that I ate roughly 62 foods/ingredients over the span of 3 days. However, even after this research, I have found that I still do not know where a lot of my food comes from. Being a college student makes this even more difficult because I do not have the access to find out where the food I am consuming in the cafeteria is coming from.

 

Olivia Kubaska

Hello! My name is Olivia Kubaska and I am from Ipswich, MA. In addition to the Food Studies Certificate, I will be graduating in May with a degree in Environmental Studies. Currently, I am interested in finding innovative ways to connect people with food, both geographically and emotionally. I am very excited about urban agriculture as a way of pushing the boundaries of how we view agriculture. I have also experienced first hand the power of local agricultural projects to connect and enforce communities and would like to find ways for that benefit to reach wider, more diverse groups of people.

© 2020 The Food Experience

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑


Academic Technology services: GIS | Media Center | Language Exchange