I am what I eat, rice.

      15 Comments on I am what I eat, rice.

This week’s lesson got our feet wet thinking about how food is produced, and naturally I wondered about the food I bought and ate. One food that especially stood out to me was rice, a staple of my diet since I was a child. I thought about where the rice I eat was coming from and how it got to my plate. The rice I buy today is imported from Taiwan. On it’s trip from Taiwan, many people had a hand in processing it and transporting it. Growing rice requires a lot of water. Many resources were used like oil for boats and trucks and electricity for the store. There also needed to be a system in place to accept payment for the goods, from the producers to the wholesalers and then the consumers. How do I fit into such a complex system of systems, and what can I do if I want to effect change? The global population is expected to increase from 7 billion people to 9 billion people by 2040, so it’s easy to feel small, like I’m a single grain of rice in a bowl full of rice.

15 thoughts on “I am what I eat, rice.

  1. Carlee Wengel

    The food system really is so complex. I know this post was for week 1 but since you are talking about rice it was so interesting for me to learn during week 3 that rice fields / paddy fields in China actually release a greenhouse gas, methane, into the atmosphere. In week 3 we also learned how much virtual water it takes to grow certain agriculture products and you mentioned how much water it takes to grow rice. With a quick Google search I learned it takes 207 liters of water to produce one bowl of rice. Crazy.

  2. hestra01

    I like your analogy. I too feel like I am just a tiny grain of rice in this bowl we call the world. More than the resources and the energy it takes to produce or transport the food, I am learning every week that there are other somewhat hidden costs to the complex systems that you speak of. Trade agreements between countries, tariffs on products, the political agendas that drive some of these arrangements are also part of the system that gets you that rice you buy from Taiwan.

  3. bsmith36

    Rice is also a staple in my house, as my partner is Japanese, and this was part of his family’s culture growing up. Since this staple plays a large part in the culture and traditions of people’s diets, I do question if the effects of the ecological footprint will ever alter this dietary item in households. Like you said, how do I play a part in this system? On the other end of the spectrum, I was also surprised to learn how damaging this crop can be to other cultures and livelihoods; learning about Haiti and how damaging the U.S. rice subsidies have been to their small farmers, crippling their self-sufficiency in agriculture. It’s unfortunate that this direction under Bill Clinton was meant to benefit the U.S. farmers, leaving Haiti in a position with little choice but to consume the subsidies and devastate farming in a country where rice crops thrive, although he denies this was ever his intention.

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