Bent M. Sorensen. “The method of juxtaposition: Unfolding the visual turn in organization studies”
This article describes the method of contrasting duality through juxtaposition. By linking content and form, an intimate contrast can be produced through juxtaposition. I will use this article as a theoretical and practical foundation for me and Adam’s project, where we will contrast farmer’s market experience with that of grocery store consumption. I hope to do a side by side video project, which elicits an emotional response to the difference between the two lived realities.
Harrington, Lisa M. Butler. Alternative and Virtual Rurality: Agriculture and the Countryside as Embodied in American Imagination
This article discusses the American imagination as it relates to notions of rurality, countryside, and agriculture. It explains the fondness which perpetuates that is directed at rural communities and lifestyles, and provides rationale for agro-tourism, including visiting farms, farmers markets, and the imposition of small-scale agriculture. This article will inform the aesthetics of our project, providing a basis for our emotional appeal to rurality and the purity of the farm to table lifestyle.
Matt Steiman is the livestock and alternative energies manager at the Dickinson College Farm.
When did you start farming? Where?
“I started out in Colorado on an organic farm. It was my first experience in the food system, and it really made me fall in love with agriculture.”
What was it like living with people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds during your time in Colorado?
So, I actually lived in a barn for the first year I was on the farm, with a man from Mexico. We became close through working together every day and he taught me a good bit of Spanish, which I still practice today. Overall, I learned that agriculture in the United States is dominated by migrant workers and that surviving in the fields requires a lot of will power and discipline.
Is there a psychological difference for you growing crops versus raising livestock?
Raising livestock is actually what I spend most of my time doing at the college farm. It is an intimate experience, more so than cultivating plants, because of the emotional capabilities of the animals. Raising an animal for slaughter is of course, sad, but it is also an integral part of the human experience. I see humans as a part of an ongoing cycle of birth and death, and animals are part of that same system. When we eat an animal, it literally becomes part of us. How intimate!
What are your daily responsibilities with the animals?
I make sure the cows and sheep have water and food, check them for disease and infection, and move the herds from location to location to protect them from parasites as well as to enrich the soil. We spend a lot of time together.
In your opinion, what is the greatest innovation in farming?
Biogas has become one of my main passions over the years, and I hope to expand it on the farm. It is a zero waste, completely renewable form of energy. You can even use human feces to make clean energy, although doing so on a farm is tricky due to the USDA. Biogas systems on every farm and in every house would drastically reduce the amount of carbon emissions released and natural resources burned.
Do you any trends in farming right now? Moving from traditional to modern method, vice versa? Less animals, more vegetables?
Out in Central PA, the focus is on soil health, acreage efficiency, and pest management. The trend is definitely going away from animals, but not very fast. People are getting real creative with vertical farming, like the folks over at Solar Cities. Biogas is big, but it is still considered a hobby in the mainstream. At Dickinson, I hope to incorporate both techniques into future farm practices and classes.
Me and Matt during a tube race this summer in Boiling Springs.
Lamb harvest organized by Matt this summer at the college farm. (We ate it!)
As college students, many of us are forced to be creatures of habit. All Dickinsonians with a palette know that most of the food served in the caf is bland, repetitive, and often leaves you having quite the experience in the HUB underground bathroom the next morning. Even for those, like myself, who have some access to fresh produce through the farm, time becomes a barrier in cooking and eating mindfully. I noticed that the majority of meals I cook for myself at home consist of my pantry staples. I’ve actually eaten either bean, an egg, or a tortilla almost every day since beginning to track my diet. These ingredients are very versatile and can pack a flavorful punch when combined with what’s in my spice cabinet.
Beans: It takes an immense amount of energy and water to grow beans on a large scale, along with the human power required to cultivate, harvest, process, transport, sell, cook, and consume. Beans are a commodity crop, the markets dominated by GOYA and other household names. Farms that grow beans are often monocrop, which means that the soil they utilize often decreases in biodiversity over time. Additionally, due to the nature of the bean, it is necessary to rotate crops, or a farmer risks the development of mold in the field. Most large-scale farms skirt this possibility with chemical treatments. North Dakota grows 32% of all dry beans in the United States (US Dry Bean Council), but many beans are products of Mexico and parts of South and Central America. I estimate that each bean I consume has traveled roughly 1500 miles to my kitchen
Eggs: We all know that eggs come from chickens. Most of the egg production in the U.S. is factory style livestock farming, which as Food Inc. showed, is some pretty messed up stuff. Chickens mainly feed on corn and soy bi product, and actually consume an amount of corn on par with humans. Chickens are raised all over the United States, especially on small scale family operations. The environmental impact of chickens is large. They consume a lot of energy through the feed they eat, the transport between farm and slaughterhouse, in packaging, sanitizing, and transportation to grocery stores. It is best to eat local chicken, as it has been dead for less time. I am iffy about the consumption of meat, as I do find it cruel, however I still eat it. I am obviously an imperfect and immoral human being. I assume that the chicken I eat travels roughly 100-300 miles on average.
Corn Tortillas: The main ingredient is corn! As mentioned before, monocropping is bad for the ecosystem, and corn is one of the largest commodity crops in the U.S. Most corn is grown on large scale corporate farms using conventional methods. Each plant is grown 6 inches apart from the next, and most farms use pesticides to avoid worm damage. About 75 percent of organic corn will have some worm damage in Pennsylvania. Corn is grown all over the place, but dominates states like Iowa and Nebraska. Corn travels a lot, as it is an additive in countless food products. I estimate that the corn in my tortilla travels an average of 1000-1500 miles.
Am I surprised by this? Not really, I am pretty conscious of my food consumption and the environmental impacts of shopping from large scale suppliers, who draw pretty much exclusively from large scale corporate farm operations. Do I want to reduce my food carbon footprint and mitigate the soil degradation caused by monocropping? Hell yes, but it is expensive. Our system is set up in a way that favors large scale agriculture and punishes small farmers. It also punishes consumers, making more nutritious, organic produce the more expensive option.
Well, pleasure to meet you… suppose I will try to describe myself and the essence of what goes into my writing. My name is Henry Cohen. I am a 21 year old from Washington, D.C. What fascinates me the most in life is the crossroad between inner and outer human experience. Food has always been a core tenet of my existence, and has certainly marked the development of my consciousness. Starting alongside my father at age three, I would watch, memorize, and then mimic his actions in the kitchen. Scrambled eggs is where it all began for me. I would seek to perfect the dish, experimenting with different additives, like milk, cream, and air, but finally concluded that the only thing scrambled eggs needs is butter, eggs, salt, and pepper. For me, cooking can become what we might call a sort of “spiritual experience,” in the sense that my consciousness is altered, noticeably heightened, when I cook. I am taken out of my normal self-aware perception and move towards the realm of direct perception of the food and the cooking process itself. And cooking is only the first part of the story- eating is a whole other sensorial beast. Talking and writing about these experiences is incredibly cathartic for me. Aside from cooking, and eating, which I spend a fair amount of my time doing, I practice mental and physical practices from different meditative and healing traditions around the world. Practice schools that interest me the most, whose practices help me in my own life, are the meditation practices rooted in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, energy practices like Qi Gong and Yoga, and the healing modality of Reiki. These two practices, of cooking and delving into consciousness, sometimes feel the same. When my conscious experience is in certain ecstatic states, recipes flood my imagination, I associate different flavors together, adapting them through different culinary techniques to create a dish.
Aside from that stuff, which I guess I would consider my personal life, I sing, play the guitar, piano, and harmonica, and hold down the bass section in my a capella group. Some of my favorite musical groups are Bon Iver, Jon Bellion, The Eels, and Victor Jara. I study comparative political theory, focusing on the moral psychological implications of the view of self within social contract theory. My other academic interests include Phenomenology, Buddhism, Depth Psychology, and my absolute favorite intellectual and personal trip: Lucid Dreaming. I guide a meditation group on campus, work at CSSJ, and the College Farm. Just happy to be here now.