Week 3 Readings and Presentation

By Kate Yellowlees, Sabrina Xiao and Joi Wu

Our group looked at the readings from Week 3;

  • Tom Standage, An Edible History of Humanity
  • Deborah Barndt, Tangled Routes: Women, Work, and Globalization on the Tomato Trail
  • Rachel Laudan, “In Praise of Fast Food”
  • Dan Koeppel, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World



Reflections on Rotten’s BIG BIRD

Usually, I enjoy watching food documentaries, however this particular series didn’t catch my eye because of the way the information was relayed; But in the show’s defense I only watched two out of the six episodes. In the fourth episode, “Big Bird,” the show focuses on the chicken industry and the corruption found in large scale companies. ‘Rotten’ discusses the economic and political workings behind food industries rather than the ethical and health side, which is uncommon for food documentaries. I found this aspect of the series interesting and was surprised to learn about the sabotage found in this industry.

The purpose of this episode seemed to highlight the fiscal and political workings of commercial chicken production and I found it comical how the workers treated the animal’s as products rather than living beings. You can call me a hypocrite since I do eat seafood but it was interesting to see a different perspective the workers have on these animals. Before watching the episode I never knew how directly associated the chicken lives were to the salary of the grower; but now have a better understanding on animal farmers and why they do what they do.

At the end of the episode, a small-scale chicken farm that focuses on the chickens’ livelihood and health was featured to show smaller farms that are trying to combat the more powerful companies. To a certain extent, I agree with the small-scale farmer’s intentions however in the end, the chickens are sent to a slaughter house regardless of where they were raised.