How food creates a Culture

After meeting with my group about our final project, we came to the decision to focus on food and how it makes up a culture within isolated islands. We had wanted to do something that was new and exciting and the idea of using food as a culture for islands seemed to really work. As we brainstormed we figured that we wanted to define an island in our own words by using four different points that are driven by “food”. The four points were self sufficiency, culture, the economy, and the environmental resources in the specific location. Being self sufficient meant that there was food production occurring which always provided the means of eating. Within a culture, food can become one of the most influential aspects that define the society, in turn it can also shape the architecture in which the people live in and how they obtain their food. In some places it is the staple economy on which the society thrives and survives. The exportation of food to different parts of the world can keep the economy running for a society. Depending on their location, a population can obtain only certain available food from their surroundings due to geography and climate changes.


We decided to look at two different places in Peru and the Chesapeake Bay, Parque de la Papa and Smith Island. They are considered islands because one is isolated by topography while the other is isolated due to water. In these unlikely places, food has become a prominent part of their culture. It was clear this was the case because when we visited both, their culture never really changed and they still relied on the same food as their ancestors did. Potatoes was the main source of economy and food for the people in Parque de la Papa, they used different agricultural techniques to grow potatoes and always use them in their daily meals. Their location was ideally perfect because they had one of the best fertilizer that can be used to grow their crops. Over the centuries have created more than 3,000 types of potatoes which is quite impressive to say the least. Since they are high in the mountains, there has been little to no outside influence, they are isolated enough that they are self sufficient on potatoes as their main crop. It is very similar for Smith Island because the people had to make a living off the crabs and oysters that they harvested. That is why the Crab Co-Op had been established where the husbands harvested and the wives picked the meat to be packaged and shipped.


Both places have their own unique culture because of their reliance on the food that they are able to obtain from their surroundings. Food had shaped the societies in so many ways to make them what they are today even though they are isolated islands.

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