A caveat about complexity and simplicity in writing

I’d like to make one last caveat/note, before moving on to the next chapter (on the problems of the food system). I try in this blog to be general enough to write simply, but specific enough to not make overly sweeping statements. I try to avoid unnecessary jargon, but I also want the reader to appreciate the nuance and detail that makes the world so incredibly interesting (and makes making change more difficult than would be desired!).

The world is complex and multifaceted, and really there are many food systems, not one. The “social-ecological process” that makes and remakes food systems is happening at many scales all at once, and intersects between them. We can talk, for example, of “the United States food system”, but what does this mean when food is imported and exported through US borders? Or when migrants from Central America provide the bulk of on-farm labor? Or when rules about trade made by the World Trade Organization—which has members from 162 nations—shape what foods are grown inside the US?

The idea of a container we can call “the food system” is an abstraction, handy for breaking down the complex social-ecological process into (pun intended) “bite-size chunks”. I’ll try to make note when there are complexities or nuances that are just too important to leave out. But for those who appreciate nuance, please bear with me when I leave something out for simplicity’s sake. Also, feel free to leave notes correcting or adding onto what I’ve presented, in the comments section.