Saturday, December 24, 2011

Farm Tech

Visited Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry yesterday. Highlights from the "Farm Tech" exhibit:
  • One massive combine
  • One massive tractor
  • Promotional videos for both which included the following facts:
    • 1 farmer in 1930 could harvest 100 bushels of corn in an 8-hour day, 1 combine in 2000 could harvest 10,000
    • 1 farmer in 1930 could plant 6 acres of corn in a day, 1 farmer in 2000 could plant 130 acres
    • 1 farmer today can feed 129 people
  • An exhibit extolling the wonderful conditions breeding pigs live in, including the absolute sterility of the indoor, climate-controlled conditions and the fact they have enough room to "move back and forth" and "spread out their legs"
  • An exhibit on hydroponics that boasted of its ingenuity in avoiding "contaminating soil" altogether
  • An exhibit on farm-based biogas that was actually pretty cool
Overall, the exhibit could be characterized as a half-acre of promotional propanganda for industrial agriculture. The aesthetics were decidely commercial, with far more plastic and steel than natural (or even natural-looking) objects, and far more primary than earthy colors. The cockpit of the combine was a good ten feet above the ground. The distance between the industrial farmer and nature was frightening.

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