Food Studies: Meet Ben, the Would-Be Industrial Designer Turned Plant Scientist
Food Studies features the voices of volunteer student bloggers from a variety of different food- and agriculture-related programs at universities around the world. This is Ben's first post for GOOD.
About a year ago I found myself in a predicament. I wanted to study green industrial design but was not accepted to any of the design schools I applied for. I had to find something else to do with my life.
One evening while sitting with friends, one of them asked me about a group of plants in my parents' garden. I must have gotten quite animated as I explained that those were male and female papaya plants and how they pollinate. You see, my family has a small orchard and we mainly grow oranges, but have grown papaya and passion fruit as well. We keep the farm mostly as a hobby, working and picking the fruit ourselves for fun, but three years ago we started selling our produce at the local farmers market in Tel Aviv.
A friend said, "Ben, listen to yourself! Why don’t you study agriculture?" It was like a light bulb going off in my head; within weeks I had applied and was accepted to the prestigious Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment to study for B.Sc. in Plant Science in Agriculture.
Now, well into my second semester, I can't believe this was sitting under my nose all along. I can’t imagine studying anything else!
Although my school is part of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, our campus is located in the town of Rehovot, world-renowned as a center of research and technology in many scientific fields, including biotechnology and agriculture.
My program covers a broad range of fields and topics and frankly I was scared out of my mind when I first saw the theoretical course load and curriculum that included calculus, physics, biochemistry, and entomology. I thought I was going to be plowing a field, what the heck was entomology? I've since learned that it's the study of insects and is one of the more interesting and important subjects in my degree. Also, as it turns out, I am taking practical courses as well, such as Plant Biology and Agriculture in Israel, which discuss such important topics as water conservation, sustainable farming, and the development of new agricultural technologies.
I've also recently started working as a research assistant for one of my professors. He is an expert on wheat and is seeking to increase crop yields by creating a more durable and drought resistant species.
I wanted to study green design to create something that would change how people live their daily lives. Now, I hope to be able to influence the most important of day-to-day activities—food.
To be continued...
Ben is a student blogger for the Food Studies feature on GOOD's Food hub. If you enjoyed this, you should check out the rest of the Food Studies blogger gang, and their musings on table manners, iodine, land-grant universities, and more.
Photos by the author
London Skaters Fought Gentrification, and Won A coalition of skateboard enthusiasts just saved the birthplace of British skate culture from a future as a shopping center.
“What I Would Like to See is More Bystanders Stepping in to Take Action” The Everyday Sexism Project chronicles more than 80,000 instances of sexism around the world, and it’s making a big policy impact.
It's Not Where You're Going, It's How you Get There The future of transportation is now A look at futuristic forms of transportation that have become reality.
Inside the Minds of 11-Year Olds From Around the World A new documentary probes the special moral clarity of 11-year old children.
This Underwater Museum is Bringing a Coral Reef to Life A collaborative effort spurs a marine project off the coast of Egypt.
“French Navy” and Other Suggestions for Scotland’s New National Anthem EDM, art rock, indie ballads … let’s pretend it’s all on the table if Scotland votes for independence.
How a 17th Century Bible is Helping to Revive a Native-American Language One human language may die every 14 days, but the ancenstral tongue of M.I.T.-trained linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird won't be one of them.
Thank You For Caffeinating The dirty secret behind your favorite soft drink America’s $75 billion love affair with soft drinks has less to do with flavor than a specific, notorious ingredient.
Zinc Shortage May Be Exactly What Alternative Currency Movement Needed The skyrocketing value of a mineral challenges the world's antiquated reliance on mints, metals, and mines.
Artist Nick Cave Puts Racism on Display A new exhibition turns infuriating historical ‘black objects’ into learning experiences.
Commuter Capital The Future of Daily Travel A by-numbers look at the future of getting to work.
Why You Will Soon Be Building Your Home With Hempcrete As hemp and cannabis gain cultural currency, a new approach to construction emerges.