Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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> food :

regardless of our intellectual strivings and conquests against mortality, we still need to eat. in this matter, we are remain like animals.

except that we manufacture and distribute our own food. in fact, some say the most impacting early technology was the silo, providing for grain storage. the resulting easing of survival concerns paved the way for specialization and the more rapid "advancement" of human society.

"Probably, with the advent of agriculture, people had to work harder."
- Marshall Sahlins, Stone Age Economics, page 35

once we developed agriculture we stopped moving and began to centralize in communities sharing food production duties. these specialized duties allowed us to better harness our human potential for production, and to expand our range of activites and possessions.

available technology has been applied to food since the beginning, and there has been a corresponding location of power:

"Hlaford, the Anglo-Saxon word for 'lord', is derived from hlaf-weard, the guardian of the loaf, the provider of bread, the incarnation of the life-principle of an agricultural society."
- Michael Alexander, The Earliest English Poems, page 40

bread is examplary of a foodstuff largely unattainable without agriculture and a more settled society (we still haven't quite perfected the portable oven). the location of community power corresponds with responsibility for food technology. technology that affords that consolidation of power shapes the wielders, and our society has been visibly shaped by agriculture.

cook with turnspits these collusions between power and food development date back quite a while; modern institutions such as inspectors and the scientific exploration of food production augmentation date back at least as far as the renaissance in europe, specifically england:

"Efforts were made to improve farming methods and so bring food prices down. The Royal Society, founded in 1662, established an agricultural committee to conduct experiments and carry out research; and this committee advocated the growing of potatoes and of crops to feed animals during the winter months, the use of clover and sainfoin to convert arable land temporarily into pasture, and more efficient watering, manuring and fertilizing."
- quoted in Food in England Since 1066 -- A Vegetarian Evolution?, Compiled by John Davis

what started as helpful collaboration to improve growing methods has grown to epic proportions. the technologies have abstracted levels beyond clover and manure. still, the pursuit is the same - augmenting sustenance production. one might look at the development of refrigerated storage and hybrid seeds as merely followup technologies to the particular advance of agriculture.

since agriculture, has anything shifted our relationship with food as radically?

over time, the refinement of agriculture has yielded a gradual lessening of the population involved in the production of their own food. the acquisition of food formerly occupied the bulk of our labours:

"Today [1970] in a dozen major countries agriculture employs fewer than 15 percent of the economically active population. in the united states, whose farms feed 200,000,000 americans plus the equivalent of another 160,000,000 people around the world, this figure is already below 6 percent and it is still shrinking rapidly."
- Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, page 16

industrial production techniques have merely broadened and deepened what was started by the silo - we now have the means at our disposal conceivably to feed everyone, we need only further improve upon existing food technologies (or perhaps shift our feeding priorities from cattle and alcohol to maize in every bowl).

we work to provide more:
more of a range of food options, more food in places without farms,

someone works harder, or better to offer these things - most of us barely work with food now. responsibility for the composition and distribution of our foods is largely out of our hands.

we grow further and furthur away from food. some folks would even be free from eating, chomping on pills instead

is a widespread return to more personal interaction with food production likely? not granted the population of the planet, no siree.

food priorities, or the emergency exit

pills! better distribution, use of existing production methods, even shrinking foodstuffs into pill form, considered idealistically, could serve the maximum utilization of food recourses to feed those far away from the food chain. famine solutions.

so then we are promoting the growth and sustaination of the human race, as large as we would have it. are we promoting simultaneously the happiness of the race?

we have outpaced nature, but our network is subject to occasional, momentary failure. the network creates the illusion of endless supply, that's what survivalists object to. science fiction shows us worlds after the american apocalypse where everyone in the cities is reduced to homeless searching about for survival materials.

when species outgrow their environment, they run out of food, the population contracts, and they return to environment-species equilibrium. or, they move.

space anyone?

index | biblio

technology affects food relationships and death determining potential directions for our society.
 - composition
- pills
diet pills
- distribution 
electronic babysitting fluoridation
technological determinism

thesis biblio
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