Yesterday the kids and I visited the exhibit, “Our Global Kitchen,” food nature and culture, at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas. I can honestly say it was all Abby’s idea and I just went along with it. When I asked her what she wanted to do this weekend, she responded, “I want to go to the museum.” Then, as if by chance, I showed her some of the different museums and venues I could attend for my online Humanities class, she immediately noticed the food exhibit on the website at the Bullock Museum and decided that’s what we would all do. The Global Kitchen turned out to be a wonderful experience for the family– it encompassed learning through food and culture through visual displays, different stations with food smells, and a tactile interactive digital screen table. There was an immense history of food, culture, and nature, and the global aspect of how and why food is so important was the main focus of this exhibit.
My daughter, Abby, was fascinated with some of the smaller model displays in the farming section. I let her take some pictures of the models and she was fascinated with how ingenious and innovative plans for the future could be. For instance the one in particular we looked at was called, “Urban Agriculture: Castles in the Sky? Vertical Farming, a spiral structure that allows light in from any angle; the tray elevator in the central tower lifts seedlings to the top and mature plants are harvested at the bottom. Thousands of plants are grown in pots and moved down the ramp as they grow. Trays and pots are disinfected and then reused. Water and nutrients are recycled. The display stated that, “By 2050, there will likely be two billion more people, and that feeding them the way we do now would require immense amounts of agricultural land we don’t have. But 70 percent of people will live in cities- so why not grow food there? I agree, I think this is an ingenious idea for the future of our planet and cities and is something that I would like to see come about in city plans for Texas as well as other states. Urban farms can already be found today in yards, roofs and balconies. The display showed that ideas like the spiral structure and farming in skyscrapers has already been proposed.
Another display at the exhibit was the history of the Aztec foods. One in particular that fascinated was Blue Green Algae and how the Aztecs utilized its properties. It was highly nutritious and sold in the Aztec market in dried blocks. For instance, now, “Blue Green Algae is being reconsidered as a food source, as it grows quickly in both oceans and freshwater.” Blue Green Algae is already used in Japan and is being experimented with. It is vital that food options like this are considered, especially since algae is almost 70 percent protein and is packed with vitamins and minerals.
The visual displays of food and information were numerous. I found it funny, my daughter Abby was drawn to the box “Evolution Of Taste” Give Me Some Sugar. This box included hands on and visual representations of how the sweetness of food has changed with time. Starting with why our ancestors needed sugar to survive, and how that has changed into excess amounts of sugar we no longer need, but have available. The comparisons of how much sugar is in foods is shocking, consider that 10 plums equals one 20 oz bottle of soda, which equates to 16 sugar cubes, all of these contain 65 grams of sugar–insane. I think why Abby liked the box so much is because it had one of her absolute favorite things in this world, a cup of apple juice, and it was along-side a piece of apple pie, fruit loops and an actual apple.
By going and visiting this exhibit, the kids and I were able to explore ancient Tenochtitlan and experience their Aztec Market place. We saw how food has changed through time and how new ideas about food and agriculture is emerging into today. Getting to see some of the displays opened eyes at what is possible for the future of our planet and I am excited to get to share this information I have learned with others. I hope you get a chance to visit this exhibit when it comes to a museum near you!