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  • Writer's picturevyoma haldipur

Food and the city

How food shapes our cities

Farms and cities are much more connected than they seem to be at first glance. Cities being the place where humans reside and farms the place where their food is grown. Before the advent of good transportation, the distinction between cities and farms was never so stark. People would try and keep their necessities very close to their place of residence. Most people would be involved in the process of their own food in some way. However, as the domain of transportation evolved it became easier to shift these necessities further and further away from our residence. As a result, the cities went from being a little cluster to a large web.

Today, these necessities have been pushed far away, and tracing back this chain of dependency leads us to track it across countries and continents. When people are not regularly exposed to something it does not seem so important. People, in the current age, can be expected to feel strongly about the loss of the internet rather than any crisis in our food system.

The urban disconnect

Eating is one of the most intimate activity we do as living beings.

Food used to be a means of connection with nature, health, other humans and animals, with our community and our culture. However, this basic tool of communication has now been replaced by various other things.

This disconnect also reflects in the way people in the city interact with their food. There was a time when every human being would know exactly what was going into their stomachs because they would have themselves grown, collected, prepared, and cooked their meals. Today, most of us have no idea about the ingredients that go into our bodies. We now watch about the factories producing our food on the TV.

Our involvement in the process of cooking has reduced too. Food which is easily available to us these days, such as two-minute noodles, cream biscuits, etc completely detaches us from the fact that our food comes from plants and nature.

A lot of food is available on the basis of ‘ready-to-eat’, ‘just-add-water' and ‘heat-before-you-eat’ techniques. Even to find out if one's food is in an edible condition, we prefer checking the date on the package rather than smelling and looking at the food itself.

In an age where we are constantly connected to the rest of the world, we have lost our connection to our basic necessities for survival.

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