I was awakened to the reality of my dependency on super markets and processed foods. More than anything, out of this activity of grinding grain, cutting up butternut squash, and cutting up meat with just rocks and sharp glass/obsidian, I came out of it extremely thankful and surprised. All the activities require a lot more energy and work than driving to a market and walking around pushing a cart to throw groceries into. It was clear that I did not have the proper muscular strength to grind grain as fast and efficiently as would have been ideal. Processing food by hand is no joke. My teammate was so engrossed in cutting up the meat with the sharp obsidian while I was completely focused on finely grinding the grains that we did not notice an enemy crossing our borders at one point to steal some of our squash. Not only so, but our team was unfortunately the least successful in gathering/processing a good amount of food. At the end of the activity, comparing all the team’s results, it was evident that having a team of four was much more beneficial than a team of three. The more the merrier. If there were six people on the team, I believe that the end results would have been far more different and interesting and perhaps even more entertaining. Having more people would mean that there could be teammates keeping guard or initiating attack on other teams possessions and territories as well as there being more than one set of hands working on the different processing tasks.
Nevertheless, this activity was eye-opening. Talking about the difference of gathering and processing food in our time versus the Neolithic time is one thing, but to actually have a simulated hands-on experience is another. It made it more of a reality and very interesting to ponder on. All I can say is that I left the experience extremely grateful for Ralph’s market… Oh, faithful, kind, Ralph’s… how I love thee.