Aroma in the Morning

I met someone years ago. Her name is Coffea arabica, but she is known as Coffee.  Coffee and I started our relationship more than 7 years ago. The relationship started out light and without the intention of commitment. I wish I had known Coffee’s intentions of being a lifetime partner rather than a summer fling. I could have seen the signs if I wasn’t so closed minded.

Nowadays I wake up to Coffee, and whenever I’m in the need of someone to give me a boost I have my Coffee. Some people call it an obsession, but they are wrong. It isn’t an obsession, it’s an addiction. Unhealthy addiction? I wouldn’t say so. Healthy addiction? I wouldn’t say so. Life needs moderation. Even the healthiest things in life can become unhealthy with extreme overuse or over consumption.

So I was thinking about how close Coffee and I have become. Our relationship started blooming 3 years after we had met. Every year Coffee brings me white flowers and red ripe fruit. Coffee continues to show me her strength through each year with her towering structure hard as wood. The ripples of her muscle tissue run the length of her fine narrow structure. Coffee’s limbs can reach beyond all of my short stumpy limbs.

Now you might be wondering what it is about the coffee tree I want. Well the main attraction is the beans. The beans are the dried seed from the coffee cherry. This is done annually and the cherries are usually picked manually due to the inconsistent maturation of the coffee cherries. Therefore, my coffee gives me a gift each year. The fruit covering is removed and the beans are dried on asphalt cement or mechanical dryers. My Coffee usually gives me flavoured beans; yum, vanilla and hazelnut. These beans are flavoured in a mixer that tumbles the beans without damaging then and then sprays them evenly with a pressurized spray mechanism. An interesting thing about Coffee is that I don’t usually get to see Coffee; usually I only get to see Coffee’s gifts for me. Coffee stays in climates that range 15 – 30 °C in temperature and with only 1500 -3000 mm of rain each year. Another environment Coffee prefers is elevations between 600 – 1200 meters above sea level. Coffee spends most of her time in South America.

When I really thought about how well we knew each other, I came to the realization that Coffee knew me better than I knew Coffee. Unfortunately I have been naive in thinking I knew Coffee from the inside out. I didn’t know Coffee’s family, the secrets, and lies. In order to overcome this gap in our relationship, I had to do some research and asking. To begin with, I asked where Coffee’s ancestors came from, Rubiaceae. Coffee has a few ancestors but they said their first ancestors came from Arabia in 900 C.E. Wow, Coffee’s family has been around longer than I thought. It didn’t stop there no, it turns out my Coffee has a lot more relatives than I knew were possible. First of all, my Coffea arabica has a cousin, Coffea Robusta, and she didn’t think it was relevant to tell me. I have probably met Rubusta before and didn’t know it was a cousin of my Arabica. Not only that, Coffea arabica has a sibling, decaffeinated Coffee; a dark side 0.8 – 1.4 % caffeine, Arabica, with a light side with less than 0.02% caffeine. While decaffeinated coffee can occur naturally in Ethiopia, decaffeinated coffee is usually manufactured industrially through the process of GMO’s.

At this point, I was ready to break off the relationship.  I had had enough of the secrets. I thought in relationships we were supposed to tell each other everything. I suppose that’s what I get, from being in a relationship with the drug influenced Coffee. Her sibling does not possess the drug aspect, and would be the better or safer side to be on.

The research and questions I wanted answered brought one answer I wasn’t sure I wanted. I am not Coffee’s only one; Coffee has been disloyal this whole time as she is the number one consumed beverage in the world. Defeated, yes I have been by my own lack of knowledge.  It’s off I said.

A few days went by and I thought of the pros and cons of everything I had found compared to what I knew before.  Coffee contains phenolic acids which contain antioxidant properties. Coffee has been shown to lower the risk of some types of cancers. Coffee has been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Moderate intake of Coffee can lower the risk of diabetes, stroke, liver disease, and heart attacks. Moreover, if you have Coffee Turkish style or the French Press way, you actually increase LDL cholesterol levels, which is good cholesterol. With the help of filtered Coffee, this actually stops the diterpenes from passing through the filter into the Coffee.

As a result of all of the research, I knew I had to make a decision and tell coffee what I had decided; to live with, or without her.  My conclusion was moderation. Coffee doesn’t have to be the only one; I can get to know decaffeinated Coffee. I don’t need to live in fear of the dark side; I can spread my risk by drinking Coffee and her sibling.  Coffee and I decided to continue our relationship, but keep it open to change and the option of altering anytime.

We all have unique relationships. Like our finger prints, our relationships are different than anyone else’s relationships. Our unique relationships can be with people, material things and especially food. We might not know about them, or might not consider them relationships. However, they are there, in the background and should be brought forward. Are they bad or are they good relationships? They can even be indifferent if you have yet to consider it a relationship. Do you really know what it is you ingest? Have you ever done research to find out? You might be dealing with deceit from the very product you eat for energy. They all have secrets; it is up to you to figure them out. Is it truly what you want? Are you okay with what you’ve exposed?

Food industries are not out to do what is right; they are out there to make money. Therefore, what you eat could possibly be harmful to you. We shouldn’t continue to stroll around the world with blindfolds on when the blindfolds can be so easily untied.  Unfortunately, like the cat, curiosity might not take you where you want to go and you may not be able to come back to where you started.  But in this case, food industries should not control you. You should make the effort to decide what is best and what is not best for your life and your lifestyle. I have found out things about coffee that I did not know before, and what I learned is that I should only consume it in moderation. It doesn’t need to be a necessity.

References

2004. Not Quite Shipshape. Nature 429: 789. General Science Abstracts (H.W. Wilson). Web. 20 Feb. 2012.

2012. What Is It About Coffee?. Harvard Health Letter 37(3): 4-5. Health Source – Consumer Edition. Web. 20 Feb. 2012.

Chang, Ann S., Boon-Yee Yeong, and Woon-Puay Koh. June 2009.Symposium On Plant Polyphenols: Nutrition, Health And Innovations. Nutrition Reviews 68(4): 246-252. General Science Abstracts (H.W. Wilson). Web. 20 Feb. 2012.

Coffee Research Agriculture. [Internet] 2006. Coffee Research Institute.[cited 2012 Feb 20] Available from: http://www.coffeeresearch.org/agriculture/main.htm

Drink Healthy Drinks. [Internet] 2012. [cited 2012 Feb 20] Available from: http://drinkhealthydrinks.com/the-7-negative-aspects-of-coffee/13/

ENotes. [Internet] 2012.[cited 2012 Feb 20] Available from: http://www.enotes.com/flavored-coffee-bean-reference/flavored-coffee-bean

Robinson, Richard. Biology Reference.[Internet]. 1999.[cited 2012 Feb 20] Available from: http://www.biologyreference.com/Ce-Co/Coffee-Botany-of.html

Shane, Bob. Coffee: To Drink Or Not To Drink. [Internet][cited 2012 Feb 20] Available from: http://www.pnf.org/CoffeeEdited041001.pdf

Shinjiro Ogita, Hirotaka Uefuji, Yube Yamaguchi, Nozomu Koizumi, Hiroshi Sano. Decaffinating Coffee.Research and Education Centre for Genetic Information, Nara Institute of Science and Technology. Nara 630-0192, Japan.

Softpedia.[Internet]2001. [updated 2012 March 23, cited 2012 March 23] Available from: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Top-14-Coffee-Effects-on-Your-Health-70537.shtml

Wikia. [Internet]. 2012. [cited 2012 Feb 20] Available from: http://coffee.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_coffee_species

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Coffee Bean.[Internet] 2012. [cited 2012 Feb 20] Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_bean

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Tell Me Your Eutopia

Smith, Alisa; MacKinnon, J.B. The 100-Mile Diet. Vintage Canada Edition.Toronto: Vintage Canada of Random House of Canada Limited, 2007. Page: 1-263.

On my way to Regina trying to ease the turbulence from the small planes used to transport people from place to place in Canada, I can’t help but daydream. The day-dream might not be a typical daydream, but its a picture perfect eutopia in my mind. And it all starts in my back yard.  Freshly mowed grass, wearing only a bikini and jean shorts, with my long hair pulled up to give a nice breeze to my perspiring skin. The sweltering heat only intensifying the beads of sweat dripping from my hairline into the garden of my own. Not only is it I in my backyard, but also my gorgeous Siberian husky Nikita, of 6 months old, playing with my young cat, of a descendent unknown, Carlos. I take a break from the garden and venture to see my two loveable animals. Nikita bounces around me with uncontrolled excitement only to quickly lie on her back expecting to get her pink soft belly rubbed. Am I allowed to stop, not in her thoughts. And in through the gate walks a special someone who can brighten the sunset and repeat Nikita’s excitement.

-That’s a picture of the two, I worked hard to figure out how to just put it on my blog, but I can’t figure it out!

The only thing that my daydream has that might not seem like a normal daydream is that I have everything in my daydream, except a garden. I am completely influenced by not just this reading, but every reading I have done in this course. However, I would say this one hit me pretty hard. How was it that I would have my eyes swell with tears, and helplessly laugh at some of the events that took place in this read. To begin with, it could not have been anymore local to me. Now I grew up in the coast, I’ve lived in Vancouver, and I currently live in Kamloops and I can say that each and every location named gave me a feeling of engagement. I felt like I could re follow the experience with them, besides their cottage in Dorreen, I have never been there, and I have never been to Terrace either. I think that the experience of reading the book definitely fired inspiration throughout and all around me, I’ve already started setting up dates to finally attend a Kamloops farmers market.

Throughout this learning experience, I must comment that the 100 mile diet does not seem easy. The way the author’s both write about their experience I think it can be easily felt of their hardship and the fight to make it through. It is a lot easier to continue the supermarket routine if that is the routine you have been living for years. When Alisa brings up about her past and how she was diagnosed several times with “depression” it makes you feel as if she has fallen back into that dreadful hole. The only reason why I have it in quotation marks is because how can a four-year old be depressed?  I’m sure it can happen, but I guess I have never been around a four-year old that expressed such distant behaviour. Maybe I don’t know enough four-year olds.

Now jumping through a loop-hole here, the infested wheat. The first sight of creepy crawlers in a bag of food at my house would in no doubt be tossed out. And I believe the reason why would be because of how we have grown into the civilization we are today. At least in Canada, the United States and other developed countries. I can remember when I was maybe twelve years old, with an urge to make myself some pizza dough. I was at my dads house and decided to go to the first place to begin my adventure, the flour bin. Oh was I ever horrified and disappointed, the flour was infested with maggots. Thinking of it now, I am reluctant to admit that I didn’t do anything with it, I cringed when I saw the infestation, but I put the bin back. Later when I went home, my mother informed me that if the flour is not in an air tight container after a while bugs, insects, and other creatures will enjoy the flour as well. This also takes me to another memory, at my dads in the same house years later after we moved from it only to return to it. In the middle of the night I had woken to use the facility. As soon as the light switch was turned on I was wide eyed and compelled to stay completely still. Ants, I don’t think I have ever seen so many I don’t even know how to estimate how many there were. All I know is that they were all in the counter, all in the sink, and when the light was switched on they all assorted in an organized fashion into the wall. Now this bathroom is in the middle of the bottom floor of the house. No windows, no outside surrounding it. Seems impossible.

Nothings impossible. I learned the same things that Alisa and James did about the land we live on. I am completely clueless when it comes to knowing what grows around me, or what can.

The only thing I need to do to reach my eutopia, is get a garden started. How will I do this, I have no idea but I’m sure however it turns out will be an achievement especially from not having a garden to start with.

Anywhere and Everywhere

Pollan, Michael. The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World. 1st ed. 1.  New York: The Random House Publishing Group, 2001. Chapter 3, 112 – 178.

Jolly green giants. What an interesting way to describe a desired weed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxeEzu5ARU0

I don’t know how anyone would be able to live with such paranoid fear and continue growing the towering jolly green giants. Pollan were you trying to make yourself go crazy?

P.130, Pollan’s reference that cannabis is America’s leading cash crop of selling for upward of $500/ounce seems outrageous. I quickly looked online, and it seems a bit lower in Canada, but it doesn’t fall too far from that number. Unfortunately, I could be completely inaccurate because I have no idea what it sells for so I am taking the Internets word for it.  Alright, so from the fact that cannabis is America’s leading cash crop, I do wonder why the government has not yet decided to take control over this plant.CLARIFICATION, I meant I wonder why the government has not taken control over the marijuana industry because I feel that the government continues to seek out more power over the people. Now this is coming from me with large speculations for government, because unfortunately, I don’t know any kind of government that hasn’t sneakily done something in their favor. Anyways, back to where I was going with this. Leading cash crop, government control = more money for government. Isn’t that why we are taxed on everything? Why are we invading countries with mass amounts of oil?

Unfortunately, in the case of cannabis, law enforcement does not seem to fluctuate the production of cannabis. It seems to show a clear desire for the plant to overcome a large amount of people’s fear of the law.

Pollan makes interesting connections between how different animals react with plants differently. For example on page 117, the effect Nepeta cataria on the cat and how it has no effect on humans, or at least the effect has not been noted. Now I have catnip in my house, and I can tell you, I have to hide it in a cupboard because if I don’t my cat Carlos will get it. Even if it seems like the bag is sealed, it isn’t because he knows how to smell catnip out from anywhere. If it isn’t “locked” away he will get it.  Similar to the ability of our poor sense of smell and how we can smell marijuana  if it is in the proximity of where we are.  Even so Pollan notions that it isn’t just adults that alter their consciousness, on page 139, Pollan comments that even children will alter their consciousness by spinning excessively, or ingesting enough sugar to obtain a sugar high. Interesting enough, it seems that humans tend to alter their consciousness in one form or another, and even other animals, as seen by the cat.

On page 114 Pollan says “There it is, right in the middle of the word intoxication, hidden in plain sight: toxic”. Well that is definitely accurate and not surprising. On a regular basis, well without the aid of a chemical from a plant we are not intoxicated. However, ingesting something to alter the way in which our mind thinks, how we act, we can become intoxicated. But any form of medication and drug can be toxic to our bodies. Too much alcohol damages our liver. Too much marijuana can slow our natural production of dopamine. Other drugs cause an addiction that need detoxification before stopping. Some medications have addictive properties much like drugs. To be more specific, medications are drugs. In turn, the difference between the toxic effects of drugs versus the benefits of medication is the dosage, and moderation.

Throughout history, Pollan has provided the information to conclude that drugs and medication in life have been used for over 10 000 years, for example the cannabis plant. However, at this day and age it can be seen that moderation is not as easy as it might seem. Everyone reacts differently to certain kinds of drugs or medication. The ones who are effected the most are the ones who can’t sustain moderate intake. We are not supposed to be intoxicated every waking hour of our days. Yet we all have the temptation to try. Whether or not we take the extra step to try the mysterious will take us down different paths in our lives. Not necessarily completely different, but possibly very different paths.

A drug to improve memory, I wish we knew of that now. Exams are coming.

We will never be the last one standing.

Nabhan, G.P. 1990. Gathering the desert. University of Arizona Press 209 pp. 2- 19

Persistance, something we lack. Does that mean we are persistent to self destruct?

Now when I read the eating mosquitoes section  the first thought I had was; “Can you get malaria by eating mosquitoes?” So obviously I had to check it out, and it makes sense why you can’t get malaria from eating mosquitoes. The mosquito has to insert the parasite directly into your blood stream, if the mosquito is eaten the parasite is destroyed in the digestive tract and does not enter the blood stream.

This super curing plant creosote reminds me of a natural flavor sold over the counter that saved a cats life. Now I do not know what it was called or where is was bought, but what I do know is that the cat, Mer, lived for years after. It happened about  8 years ago and Mer, being a regular cat, ran into the street at the wrong time. Mer was hit by a vehicle and received a gash wound across his belly. Just to make things clear, it was not a gaping wound, he did not have half of his intestines falling out but the wound was open, and bleeding everywhere. The first thing to do was to stop the bleeding, or slow the bleeding down. Mer was not in good shape, but neither was money for a vet bill. The next step was to brainstorm quickly what was needed to be done. There was no surprise that the owner ended up at a natural herbal store asking for a plant that was not sold on the shelves. The purchase was done and the owner went on her way to heal her cat. This herbal magic was rubbed onto Mer’s wound. Not only was the wound sealed, healed, and without infection it was a fast recovery of two weeks and Mer was back to his regular self.

It can be interesting to hear stories of all these wonderful natural plants and the special components that make up certain plants are described as “imaginary” healing. From my point of view, I think there are some plants that cause imaginary effects but there are definitely plants out there that do the real thing. The main reason why plant’s aren’t all considered truly healing is because we don’t know why or what exactly from the plant causes the infection to be rid of. However, plant’s are mysterious in their ways, they have the ability to alter the chemicals in our brain causing intoxication, why is it so ludicrous to believe they can heal us? The ignorance of civilization from the beginning has disabled us from accepting the wonders of life. I think the ignorance has caused people to banish old rituals or belief’s because they don’t want to try to understand. It is unfortunate, and maybe one day when we can get back to the natural way of life we can work to be persistent like the creosote.

 

 

 

Deliciously Unknown

Pollan, Michael. The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World. 1st ed. 1.  New York: The Random House Publishing Group, 2001. Chapter 1, 3 – 58.

I think the next time I enter a liquor store I will be on a mission to purchase some good old hard cider. A challenge seems to have fallen into my lap. Applejack’s in the making.

Not really because I haven’t been into a liquor store the last few weeks, and by the time I go into one next, I will have forgotten about my challenge.

Anyways, Micheal Pollan takes us through an adventure to find Johnny Appleseed, also known as John Chapman. This figure in life has been pronounced the apple’s “sidekick”. Now he is not just a regular sidekick, he becomes the apple’s publicist. Apple is no longer the hidden sweetness thanks to grafting, seed planting, and Johnny Appleseed. Not every seed planted by John Chapman turned into a delicious apple tree, some turned into the wild sour, strange looking fruit that resembled nothing of what is called an “apple”. From this reading I wonder how such a complicated tree became domesticated when the seeds planted truly were unpredictable. No one planted seed is the same in apples, which is by far one of the strangest things. Planting a seed that would grow into a tree that resembled nothing of the parent seems bizarre. Usually there is something that is inherited by the offspring in the phenotype. Then again, life likes diversity and surprises. That doesn’t mean us humans like surprises. And it goes to show because they invented grafting for the apple tree to overcome the surprise plant that grew from seeds. This grafting technique creates a clone from the desired apple tree you wish to continue and aspire in life. But like the potato, the apple could be put up against Mother Nature, and Mother Nature does not like over populated clones.

I thought Pollan had some interesting things to say, first of all, page 10 Pollan says “In the case of the apple, the fruit nearly always falls far from the tree”. Now from hearing that no two apple seeds from the same apple tree will produce two of the same apple trees, the statement that Pollan says is ironically completely correct. So where did we get the saying, “the apple never falls far from the tree”? It is definitely strange how this overused cliché saying is so wrong.

There are two other passages, one that doesn’t have much relevance but I thought stuck out in the sense of imagery. On page 32 “The water, moving with surprising dispatch for the time of year, looked like a freshly black topped road, except where snags flustered its surface causing it to sparkle. In places spooky mists rose from the surface…” I don’t think I would ever be caught in a canoe travelling on water that was black, with spooky mists arising. I’m thinking; horror movie waiting to have something pop out of the water at any moment in time. The odds wouldn’t appear to be good. Furthermore, the other passage on page 44 “…and the metaphor of a library begins to fit: endless bookshelves of books that are alike only superficially”. I can guarantee everyone has been to a library. I will admit, they can be completely overwhelming. Where to start? Anywhere, but where you start will dictate what you leave with. Nonetheless, if you are at the library choosing a fiction novel to park your nose in, you could have two novels right next to each other; they will be under the same “Heading” but will be like the apple orchard, far from the same.

The story of the apple and the apples life seems to have been distorted in time, similar to John Chapman’s history story. Life has a way of altering and changing the way information gets passed down from one generation to another. Therefore, in my opinion, I think Pollan is right; the apples story has become lost. The apple could grow in the wild before, and now the apple suffers the loss of fitness to survive against competitors. In that sense the apple’s story has been lost because it could function perfectly by itself before, and now it has become a dependent. This is different than corn because corn could never survive in the wild because of its hybrid husks that block the seeds. Therefore, the corn was never independent, always dependent.

I am glucose-fructose, modified corn starch and xanthan gum.

Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. 1st ed. 1. New York: The Penguin Group, 2006. Part I, 15 – 119

It can’t be, this chicken is chicken, and that corn is corn. Well now we know that all those hard pronouncing long words on the ingredient list of the food we eat is actually just forms of corn and not 5 different kinds of ingredients.

Interesting enough, Micheal Pollan taught me more than one might want to know. Right from the beginning Pollan extracts corn from major ingredients in life. The Zea Mays has become the most powerful and dominant crop produced and distributed in our lives. Micheal Pollan shows that the number 2 corn starts in the fields like the regular(sweet or cream, ones we eat) corn but is overproduced because it has a different gravel road than the ones we directly eat. Instead number 2 corn will be ground up and sent away.

First being sent to feed the animals that feed on grasses. However, this grass does not sit well with the cattle that are brought up to provide beef, for us who eat meat in the world. Instead this mutant number 2 causes disturbances within the cattle’s digestive system. Causing anything from minor infections, discomfort to even lead to death. The death is not caused directly, however, it is caused because diseases arise within cattle if antibiotics are not being taken. Seems a bit like a paradox, similar to an individual working out to lose weight, only to go home and eat everything in site that has invisible labels reading “HIGH IN FATS, SUGARS, CARBOHYDRATES. NAME IT WE GOT IT”.

Then this brings us to the turning point of figuring out what xanthan gum is. That number 2 corn again is ground up more, to the point of being converted into corn starch. It doesn’t stop there though, corn is also ground up and processed to be corn syrup, xanthan gum, and many more ingredients we are all familiar with. An interesting thought is that corn fills so many unknown black holes in food, both directly and indirectly it can be considered to feed us almost all of the major food groups.

For example: grains = tortillas, fruits and vegetables = corn, in its plant form, meat = corn is fed to the meat we eat which becomes incorporated to produce more mass on the animal

Micheal Pollan on page 18 says this more simply “To have some corn with your corn.”

A few things that caught my attention from Micheal Pollan. In the first sentence, page 15 “Air conditioned, odourless, illuminated by the buzzing fluorescent tubes…” and the truth of how there is more diversity in the 1 acre of land of the supermarket produce than any other acre of domesticated plants in the world. All of it at the reach of your finger tips and no external work at all. The only requirement is if you have enough money, unfortunately, Micheal Pollan also wrote that the farmers are forced to sell their crops for less money than what it costs to plant and harvest them. Now this makes me certain I would not like to be a farmer. I would not like to be at the surrender of someone else without the ability to have another option. I feel a farmer is hopelessly helpless, yet needed like no other. Again like I said in an earlier blog, the evil of selfish empowerment has the ability to take everything, and not leave any room for the one below you to live comfortably.

Now I suppose I live a sheltered life when it comes to certain aspects of knowledge about everyday life. I just found out that petroleum is produced from corn. Whoops, I might have been the only one, my mistake.

Anyways, on page 30, Micheal Pollan calls the corn a teosiate freak. A mutant maize that became superior. I like that description of corn, because it was the perfect mutant gene to become a co partner with humans. I mean really, what kind of plant would be able to survive if their seeds were inside a ‘package’ unable to release the seeds to produce more without the help of a co partner. And then on page 119, we read “The grass that domesticated its domesticator.” Now at first glance, it doesn’t seem that way. But when we understand that corn is the precursor to more than just food in our lives, it is hard to not realize that we are dependent on the corn. Not only that, but because of the inability of corn to grow without the help of a co partner to remove the husk and the precursor the cereal crop is to other things in our lives, why can’t we consider the grass domesticated its domesticator. In the least, there is a mutual dependence of each other.

Hot sauce = my every day, all day, everything but sweets topping has: glucose-fructose, corn starch, and xanthan gum. All those ingredients are derived from corn, and therefore, are corn. If we are what we eat, then I suppose I can be considered the walking cob.

Did the evolution of domesticating plants prove a civilizations intelligence?

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. 1st ed. 1. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999. 85-113, 131 – 157.

If the domestication of plants was proof of intelligence of a particular group of people, then where do you think the earliest domestication of plants would have been?

In Chapters 4, 5, 6, and 8 Diamond unravels the archeologists ways of determining where plant domestication began, and whether it began independent from the other civilizations changing from hunter-gatherer to farmer. From Page.99 Diamond, shows a map of where the centers of origin of food production developed. Among these centers are, The Fertile Crescent, China, Eastern U.S, Mesoamerica while New Guinea, Ethiopia, Sahel, West Africa, and the Andes and Amazonia are the few that are still in question of whether they developed food production from other centers or not.

The Fertile Crescent is the main attraction of Jared Diamonds description of the centers of origin of food production. You might ask why, and that is because it is the oldest origin of food production coming in with evidence from 8 500 BC. Not only does the Fertile Crescent show the oldest food production evidence today, the Fertile Crescent has an extremely wide diversity of wild species. A reason why the development of food production was more prominent in the Fertile Crescent is because of the mediterranean weather pattern. The Fertile Crescent has dry hot summers, and mild wet winters. Now because of these changing climates, it provided a larger diversity of annual plants. Annual plants are the prefered crop plant because they produce edible plants each year, rather than every few years.

Furthermore, among these chapters, Diamond notions that the former hunter gatherer lifestyle was continually altered to evolve into the latter food-producing lifestyle. However, whether the beginning was accidental,or  unconsciously influenced, is not fully known and neither is how the native hunter-gatherers were influenced to take on the new lifestyle. In the beginning, it can be seen the direct influence of being able to produce more than enough calories for the surrounding people of the area with the food-producing lifestyle. However, the consequence of being able to feed more people would not have been known. It would not have been known that the more you can feed, the more reproduction would occur because there was more food to feed “more” people. Nonetheless, plant domestication could be seen as a positive, the more you can feed the better and less deprived one would be. However, on page 104 Diamond claims that “most peasant farmers and herders who constitute the great majority of the world’s actual food producers, aren’t actually better off than hunter-gatherers. This is another misconception of how decisions that we make don’t always do what is expected.

This portion of Diamonds book was rather dry only because there seemed to be too much detail in the overall incentive of these chapters. Understandably that information is needed to provide evidence and to tighten the bolt on the origin of food production, however, I suppose I am not fascinated with the regurgitation of information over and over again. On another note, Diamond always has informative and interesting connections with his topics. For example, page 94, “When we trace food production back to its beginnings, the earliest sites provide another surprise”. The surprise is that these origins are nowadays ecologically degraded and dry. At the same time though, this seems like deja vu, using all the nutrients on the land over a period of time that land becomes unusable anymore. I wonder if we are doing this yet once again, the demand for food production is so high because of the world’s population that every possible ecological niche for crops and domesticated animals is being used on an everyday scale. Sure one farmer might leave one acre of land alone for one season, and then re plant seeds on it the next year. But is this just going to lead to the same consequence as earlier food production societies  lead to? Where the land is ecologically degraded and dry?

Another interesting thought is the idea of the origin of food production and empowerment? One might think that the origin of food production and how native people’s lifestyles were either forced to evolve due to food availability or due to powering forces. However, I believe that the origin of food production did not evolve to be the most powerful society of today. Reasons for this I am not sure, however, I do believe that it was the beginning of ruling empires. My opinion comes from the way Diamond describes that the native people eventually had to conform with the larger growing population.

On another note, Diamond says on page 112, “The paradox developed because human population densities rose slightly more steeply than did the availability of food.” Again, nothing has changed. We continue to reproduce and begin new cities and communities in ever ecologically appropriate niche we can live in. Eventually the land producing food will decrease and at the rate we are heading to a whole new level of starvation. Continually, it is the more privileged and economically stable societies and countries that are given the access to these domesticated crops. Why? I am not sure why one person is more privileged than another. However, that is the way society was built then, and continues to flourish. Who can beat the other.