Tag Archives: food

Food for Thought – What Does 200 Calories Look Like?

Peanut ButterHow deceiving food portions can be. No wonder we have trouble with moderation. Here is 200 calories in the form of peanut butter (38 grams).

It’s not money that grows on trees anymore

Children draw conclusions from what they can see.

I remember asking myself I was young where did ham come from, and not being able to give an answer. Processed food look so far removed from what they are made from that it is impossible to deduce what it is simply by looking at it.

So I am not surprized to read that Australian children (I grew up there) think cotton sock are from animals and yogurt come from plants. The logic could be mixing up cotton (from plants) for wool (from animals). Perhaps the logic for yogurt too is that it is from plants because the flavours are mostly fruit (strawberry, mango, apple, etc) or plants (aloe, which is a popular flavour in Australia).

Television, in a way, is a good window for information. The other source of information for me back then is books and public libraries. At least ithese were for me when I was a child in an age without the internet. Today’s children have no excuse for ignorance and laziness. The democracization of knowledge is one of the great achievements of our time now.

But the ease of obtaining knowledge in this age of information superhighway is also perhaps a loss of the ability to find out things for oneself in a genuine form of discovery and intimate understanding. Today’s children perhaps therefore rely on packaged information as much as packaged food that is, what I call, our supermarket culture.

But I think it is not only children who have trouble drawing logical conclusions about the world but also adults. Our world is complex. In this day and age learning to filter out the noise from the music is by no means easy. Nonetheless we must learn to filter it.

If the world were a food village of 100 people

This is an English translation I made of an essay called If the world were a village of 100 people: food edition by Ikeda Kayoko (ISBN 9784838770045). As far as I know it is only available in the original Japanese. There are many interesting and important facts in it, so I felt it important to get an English translation out there. This translation is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 unported licence.


Grilled salty pike and simmered taro, with rice, miso (bean paste) soup and pickled vegetables … that was the hearty meal one have in Japan forty, fifty years ago.

Everyone had 112kg[1](*see notes at the end) of rice to eat for one year – twice as much as we have today.

Do you still think this is a poor person’s meal? Back then, Japan produced close to 80 percent of all its food needs.

And now in the twenty-first century … the world has 6.7 billion people.

If the world were a village of 100 people and we look how we live with food what do you think this would look like?

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So do you want to Farmville … or farm?

“Mooney [vice president and general manager of the company that created Farmville] says the game has had other positive benefits, like generating an interest in real farming.”

If I was the maker of a popular game like Farmville I too would probably say this.

But does generating interest in farming translate into people actually doing real farming?

The funny thing is these people who do play the game, at the end of the day, would still prefer to play the game than to farm, because it is easier, less dirty, you get points or gain levels, and you can beat your friends or “neighbours” at it. This something something real farming cannot give you.

Having said that though what real farming can give you is this:

  • a better sense of the natural cycle of the seasons
  • physical exercise
  • food

So you don’t have to ask me which – Farmville or farming – do I prefer.

Farming may be harder (in my opinion, only just), dirtier and without points (but not pointless) it is definitely more satisfying and a lot more rewarding. And you have actual neighbours that are nice.

Think about this: less people now produce food than any time in human history.

That is not to say we are producing less food, but less people are producing more food. For example, in a developed nation like America less than 10 percent of its population work on farms to produce food for its 300 million. One has to ask what does “developed” really mean and why the rest of the world should aspire to their ideals if these very ideals are the ruination of of our kind and the planet.

I mean, I think it is important to work but not all work is good. It seems we are putting our efforts into the wrong type of work when all we really want need, at the end of the day, is food, shelter and clothing.

And what about those less fortunate? We produce enough food to feed every person on the planet, yet we have starvation and obesity, sometimes within the same nation. Is something wrong here or not? I can go on but I won’t.

I think I’ll finish this post now and get back to my composting or to something more productive.