The purpose of this project was to educate ourselves about what we are putting into our bodies every day, seemingly without thinking critically about it. The keynote text to this project was “The Onmivore’s Dilemma,” an informational novel about the ethics and science behind food production in the United States. A focus of this project was where food comes from, whether it is industrial, industrial organic, or coming from small family farms. During this project, I also had the opportunity to go with a group of students to Sunnyside Meats to learn about the process of refining meat for consumption. We learned about the humane ways of animal slaughter, and every part of the journey to turn beef from a living cow to food on our plate. This project ultimately culminated in a “food ethic” essay, where we dove into our own food ethics, and what we eat and why.
This project was interdisciplinary, meaning we were studying another aspect of food in our Chemistry class. Instead of focusing on ethics and a more socioeconomic approach, we were focusing on cooking and the chemical reactions that give flavor to we eat each day. I thought it was really interesting and worthwhile to hear about all sides of what we eat. I found that knowledge learned from each class reinforced what I was learning in the other, and helped me to develop a more well-rounded and complete food ethic to abide by in my daily life.
The one experience that I will remember quite possibly for the rest of my life was our adventure to Sunnyside Meats. I will never look at the meat on my plate in the same way. Immediately after the trip, I found myself disgusted by the traditional City Market beef wrapped in plastic, and even had trouble eating at my favorite restaurant that night. Overall, I was extremely impressed by the work Sunnyside was doing, because it was a very sanitary facility, and the meat underwent lots of analysis before getting to your table. However, meat production is still an overwhelming experience, and it was a lot to take in regardless of the method. I am definitely more conscientious about what I’m putting into my body, and where it came from. Instead of just reaching for junk food, I think about the journey that food has gone through to get to the bag in front of me, and it inspires me to eat locally as much as possible. While I haven’t made any drastic dietary changes, I have found myself to be thinking critically about my food.