Fridges have become an integral part of our food system, so much so that we can transport food from California, and still have it be ready to eat when we find it in the WalMart grocery store in Maine. As the speaker said, fridges have transformed the meaning of “fresh”. This lecture reminded me of my visit this summer to the Boston Produce Terminal. It is the place where over 60% of the northeast’s produce passes through this 6-acre lot of tractor-trailers parked like cows ready for milking. Fridges were everywhere, they’re the size of Dana dining hall and the kitchen in the back combined, one fridge for a few truck ports – and there are over a few dozen fridges! It’s amazing how fridges have not only changed these landscapes – like created these six acre loading terminals outside of many major cities, but also fridges have changed the landscape of agriculture.
We live in a time when mono-crop farming is where much of our food comes from (especially in institutions like schools, hospitals, and prisons, and supermarkets). This mono-crop type of farming would not exist without the help of fridges. There would not be enough demand in the area to produce that much of one food. Fridges are the backbone of the human world. Entire communities, food banks, and cities depend on imported, refrigerated food, because of the lack of availability, effectiveness, and accessibility of alternative infrastructure.
Jack Flynn commented that in order to keep living sustainably, we, as humans, must “make somewhat dramatic changes in the way that we are living so that the ‘debt’ that we are accumulating will not destroy us completely”. I like how he uses the word “debt,” like something that we owe to the earth, that we have not been paying proper respect or awareness to. However, I feel that this word debt puts too much blame on humans, making us seem like the catastrophic force to the world. Maybe we are the catastrophic force to our own world, in the end destroying the human race completely, as Jack points out. Maybe the earth will live on with or without us, no matter how much debt we owe to it. Or, maybe our infrastructure that we build on the earth already takes into account awareness of the earth.
For example, on playing fields that we will use very much, we know that we would be too tough to the ground, and so we replace regular fields with turf fields. The second speaker about landscape design touched on the massive turf-making facilities, and how humans will fabricate land so much, that we will even go to the point of making artificial turf. But, maybe this is just a curation of the land, an expression of art. He posed a question about Colby’s new turf, “What if the Colby museum helped to sponsor it and called it an art installation in progress?” Is it any different from what we do in art? We are simply making things out of the materials that we have. Maybe, the human race is just conducting art, and has been creating art for many centuries, and now we realize that we have stuffed many corners of this world with lots of art, and need to take a break, or (looking forward) create from what we have already created.