Field of Science

Economic Botany vs. Midwestern Students

Tomorrow the contest begins. The Phactor vs. a certain midwestern complacency and parochialism that most students do not even know they have. Suffice it to say there was more ethnic and language diversity it my freshmen dorm in New York than there is among my students here in Lincolnland. The idea is simple really: start thinking globally. What's true for you is not universal. The good news is that a very effective means of bringing this home is via the topic of food. None of my students will ever put rice in their list of most important food plants; what a complete difference when the same exercise was done in Thailand. Also funny is when my students are unable to actually think of 10 food plants after you explain that Sugar-coated Chocolate Bombs are not a food plant. One of the things they are assigned, and you may find it interesting too is a photo essay entitled What the world eats. The photos are great, but study the groceries. You can learn a great deal: who of this group seems to have the best diet, the most diverse diet, the most monotonous dies, who eats the most fresh food, who eats the most packaged/processed food, who eats the most junk. Then the students have to compare this to their own diet. Parents may shudder at the thought of what their 20 somethings would eat when left to their own devices; it's sometimes as bad as you may think. How many of them do you think actually cook? Hint: don't hold up too many fingers. Your insights, comments, and feedback will be appreciated.


Unknown said...

Taking an anthropology of food class in college was enlightening, and a local university puts on a charity banquet to bring awareness to world hunger by randomly assigning patrons plates from around the world, with a portion that someone from that area would eat. So some end up with steak and potatoes and most end up with a cups worth of rice.

Food really is a great way to someone's heart.

The Phytophactor said...

What a great idea! Consider it stolen!