Archive for September, 2011


To date I think I have earned a B according to the rubric.  I believe this because I have read all the “readings” so far in the class and have activily involved myself in the conversation.   Also I have tried to prepare appropriate questions for the inclass discussions, which elevates me passed the “C” range, but at the same time I don’t think I have “sparkled”.  I think inorder to really standout in class I need to spend more time on the readings.  Right now I just read them and think of the main points that I can talk about, but to get an A I will start to spend more time really focusing on the details of the readings.


–Oh and just to make this blog worth reading:

-ahh the epitome of class!


Learning to Order Out

  • “Chop, Fry, Boil” is a short article explaining that today people would rather watch other people cook food then cook it themselves.  The article explains that by cooking simple meals like a stir-fry, a chopped salad, and the basic combination of rice and lentils a person can create a nutritous meal easily and enviromentally healthy.

  • “Out of the Kitchen, On to the Couch” is another article that demonstrates that American Food shows have changed from educational programs like “The French Cheif” (that allowed the veiwer to actually cook with Juila Child and take the fear out of cooking) to the modern commercial shows that sponser products and resturants.


  • “The Queen of Mold”, this article isn’t like the others it actually seems to tell a different story.  One that the authors mother probably invest in a few nights eating at a resturant, and more importantly that eating is a social matter.

Cheap Food

Students in college are always looking for ways to save money, this also includes searching for cheap food.  This search maybe a waste of time.  While the processed food diet may seem cheap on the surface, like an iceberg the true cost is unseen.  Food is an investment, and so called cheap food is Las Vegas; at first its worth it, but overtime it transforms into Lost Wages.  “Is Food Revolution Now in Season? Yes it is” explains that cheap food doesn’t cost much now, but the future bills due to it health and environmental effects will be much more.

Blogging is different from a Time article because blogging isn’t as formal and is more personal.  When a person is blogging they are doing it to express their own opinions.  If an author of an article expresses too much opinion this will isolate some readers and magazine will loose money.

Visual Essay Final Draft

Organimental Science

For our health people  eat fruits and vegetable, but for our environment (and everything in it) locally and organically grown fruits and vegetables are the key to maintaining its health.

When people visualize a farm they often revert to the romanticism of it all, imagining large lots of green land and good old farmers working as nature had intended for humans.

Americans often forget that most of this country’s farms are run like industrial factories, with a corporate structure behind the facade of a natural looking exterior.

In real life most farms are far from their natural origin; with the use of bio-engineered crops, pesticides and fertilizers. This streamlining of production in American farms has greatly reduce the cost of produce, but at the cost of locally run farms.

 In the late 90’s locally grown and organic foods began to make a comeback as scientist swore that they were healthier and less dangerous to eat when compared to “the corporation crops”.  But as more studies began to present themselves these claims became less and less robust and scientists no longer agree on whether or not organic and locally grown really mean healthier.  So now the question is why should people continue to pay for the USDA APPROVED sticker?”   Many people are convinced that because locally grown foods travel less that they must be healthier.  It is true that as fruits and vegetables age that they loose nutrients.  So common sense says that locally grown will be fresher.  But as a Harvard Medical School study points out, all parts of food production has been heavily industrialized.  This allows for big corporate farms to package, ship and produce with efficiency. These processes keep the nutrients sealed in.

Many people feel the same way about organic fruits and vegetables, that some how the higher variety of the produce magically means that it is a more nutritious option.  In both the Cambridge Journal and found that there were a lot of studies on the matter, but the results were so scattered that it is unclear to scientists whether or not organic foods have a higher nutritional value.  Simply there are just too many variables in the production of food to truly determine if organically produced foods are actually more nutritious.  Whether or not organic foods have higher levels of nutrition all depend on what study the person chooses to trust.

People also choose to eat organic and locally grown foods because they believe they are safer for them.  But many studies have shown that the only people that need to fear the effects of residuals of pesticides on foods are fetuses.  Unborn children that are exposed to higher levels pesticides could be effected by developmental delays, behavioral disorders, and motor dysfunction.

 Today humans rest comfortably at the top of the pyramid and actually may need to fear the effects of chemical build up in between trophic levels. Take for example the Japanese Minamata disease.  Nearly everyone in the small town of Minamata, near the coast of Japan, became sick with mercury poisoning in the 1950’s. This is just one example of how increased industrialization has made the possibility of heavy metal poisoning higher.   But the chances of this happening today are still very slim, and this can be prevented by improving the health of our ecosystems.  

Switching over to organic farming would help reduce the intoxication of  our prey, but in reality the unsafe dumping of chemicals and industry are really to blame. So with this information, why should people continue to cough up the extra dough to purchase products?
The Agricultural Industry is the largest contributor of particulate matter pollution. PM10’s and smaller are known as non point source pollutants that highly affect photo chemical smog  Photo chemical smog is the brownish haze that is often seen in large metropolitan areas.  It’s caused by volatile organic compounds that react with sunlight to create stratospheric ozone, which is one of the biggest components of global warming. Global warming is causing the earth’s biosphere to slowly heat up; causing higher sea levels, infestation of bugs and the destruction of ecosystems. These affect the agricultural industry greatly, seeing as much of its successes relies on a good steady climate.  Many farmers have given up on the farming industry because the climate is too volatile. Inorder to make profits farmers have been forced to streamline production in a corporate like fashion. Like having large farms all owned by a single corporation.

which need to ship their products,

 Use efficient machinary that also rely on gasoline,

                                                        and using more pesticides.


 Plus Importing gasoline and using riskier methods to produce fossil fuels

Which is a reason for increases in food cost, which has a rippling effect on the economy.

Organic farming can help mediate this chain reaction (which all stems from the health of our environment). Organic farming is usually usually means  smaller farms, that use less machinery and don’t spray pesticides. At the same time locally grown foods aren’t shipped as far so they also reduce pollution.

Bibliography at:

Pollan vs. Ettlinger

In Pollan’s essay “Nutritionism” he argues that America since the dawn of our country have been obsessed with killing the joy of eating.  In his thesis he states, “But why do we even need a nutritional philosophy in the first place?  Perhaps because we Americans have always had a problem taking pleasure in eating.”(Pollen)  Pollan uses evidence to support this statement by quoting several substantial figures from different periods in American history that all disscuss the importance of not enjoying food.  “How a people eats is one of the most powerful ways they have to express, and preserve, their cultural identity, which is exactly what you don’t want in a society dedicated to the ideal of “Americanization.” 

In Ettlinger’s essay, unlike Pollan who questions why we don’t just enjoy food, Ettlinger wonders what and why certain things are in food.  In this essay the thesis is, I think, “I tried to find out how we came to make food additives on a global scale, and I had to wonder why we make such an enormous industrial effort to create artificial replacements for relatively unprocessed things like sugar.”(Ettlinger)  Despite the title I believe, based on the type of evidence he inserted into his essay, that Ettlinger wasn’t as concerned with what these chemicals were but rather why they were in the food in the first place.  The story of the twinkie I think best represents this arguement.  “And perhaps the most important question of all:if you can make a cake at home with just flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and water… how is it that thirty-nine ingredients are needed to make a twinkie?” 


Yelp Farmers Market Review

Here is a link to see my San Jose Japantown Farmers Market review:

Interview with Chris and Lilly

After wandering aimlessly through the San Jose Japan Town Farmers Market for about 15mins I finally heard a voice calling out to me asking if I wanted to try some hummus.  Obviously I accepted and as the artichoke flavored hummus was being passed around I began to ask Chris and Lilly, our local hummus dealers a few questions.

The formatting for my audio isn’t working with wordpress, I’ll try and work on it soon but the conversation went a approximately like this.

“What is your name?”


“Hi Lilly its nice to meet you, my name is Amber Nelson.”

So now what is you job at this company?

I help Chris sell the hummus.

Oh ok, how long has this company been making hummus?

Chris- About 3 years.

And how long have you been with the company personally?

Chris- A year and a half, its really nice starting with a small company, because I get to grow with it.

What is your position?

I’m pretty high up there, its hard to explain…. its, well basically I’m head sales man and I travel around to all the local farmers markets and when we get our FDA approval I will be pitching our product to stores like Trader Joe’s.

If you say your local where exactly is your company located at?

In San Leandro California

And do you work with farms in the area or do you simply purchase your ingredients?

We work with farms, and we try to make every thing as organic as possible.  Most of our farms are pretty close.  We get the ingredients and make the hummus weekly.

So your products are organic?

As organic as we can make it, there are certain ingredients we can’t get.

And if it is made weekly then is the hummus ever frozen?

No, no.. I mean it goes into freezer rooms but is never frozen. Its sold before we have time to freeze it.

Ok, so do all age groups purchase your products then?

Lilly- “the little kids really like this one because it reminds them of pizza toppings.”  (Basil and Sun Dried Tomato)

Chris- “if you like good healthy products then you want your hummus from us”

Lilly- “Once a guy came to us and said he had purchased hummus in a big container from costco and in 3 weeks of sitting in the fridge it had separated and he need to scrap the fat off the top.”

Eww… so do you believe your hummus is a better quality?

Lilly-“yes, ours wont separate and its 250 calories per tub.”

Chris- “Our hummus is made with everyone in mind.  People with diabetes and other ailments can eat our hummus.”

“Well I think I have taken enough of you time, thank you so much.”

Chris- Thank you, make sure you come back and tell us how your report went”