Concluding Thoughts

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One thing that will really struck me over the quarter was learning about Globalization, specifically in the chocolate industry. Chocolate is such a common product in many people’s day to day life. Learning of how much of a disconnect there was between the farmer harvesting the cocoa crops and the product he was making was shocking. As was learning about the large amounts of child labor, low wages, and harsh working environments that these farmers go through to provide the ingredients to a product, that so many of us in developed countries, take for granted.  Globalization has many complexities, many of which are not socially or economically just to developing countries. This has opened my eyes to a much broader picture of how the food industry operates on a global scale. My time spent in this course has taught me to reconsider what I’m purchasing and the commodity chains that the food has traveled through. I think about where the food came from and what kind of unfair trade practices might have been involved in the process. This has really made think twice about how and where I shop for my groceries and how global commodity markets effect the livelihoods of farmers across the world. I’ve also learned a lot about how so many of the issues we discussed throughout the course are interrelated; climate, soil, chemicals, production, food security, crops, deforestation, feed supply, livestock, processed foods, globalization, etc. Not one of these systems exists solely on their own, they are all components of a complex web of living systems that affect each other, humans and the environment. The way in which politics shape much of the environment has been my huge takeaway this quarter. I walk away from this class with a great understanding about how political power can shape decisions about land and resources use which effects all of us.

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