Thursday, May 1, 2014
As diverse peoples and cultures are coming into more frequent contact through processes of modernization and globalization, foodways are also crossing paths as powerful nations realize how they can maximize profits through outsourcing jobs and importing goods from other countries for much cheaper. Through this industrialization of food, the world is becoming more of a melting pot, or "mixed stew" than ever before; current research has shown that just as people are becoming more alike as they are having to adapt to others lifestyles, peoples' diets are become more similar as well. Over the last 50 years, food diversity has depleted and the dependence on wheat, rice, potatoes, and sugar has increased throughout the world. I believe that this is the fault of large agribusiness corporations who do business with farmers in other countries and exploit their labor in order to bring cheap products to the U.S. Global dependance on these four resources is a scary thought for me because I see the world's obesity rates skyrocketing over the next few decades. Not only does dependence on wheat, rice, potatoes, and sugar have fattening health risks, it also presents the risk of malnutrition among certain populations for rice and starchy and sugary foods only provide so many nutrients, none of which are as important as the vitamins and proteins contained in fruits and vegetables and meats. The U.S.'s past relationship with other countries has shown how detrimental dependence on such products can be. Populations throughout the Western Pacific Islands, for example, have greatly suffered from high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes as a result of doing business with the West. Because Western foods are often regarded as delicacies or markers of high status in other cultures, people consume such foods without understanding the health risks involved in the prepackaged and canned foods they are eating. Dependence on these four main foods also transforms local palettes and influences people to seek out sugary prepackaged foods rather than their traditional, locally grown foods; their consumption of such foods decreases the importance for local foods and agricultural practices. Industrialization has many negative effects on people of every culture, it is just often hard to acknowledge because of the delicious tastes and cheap prices that such processes provide. I urge you all to check out the interactive website: seedmap.org because of its great information of where foods come from and how food diversity is depleting and helping to create a universal and unhealthy "globalized diet".