Sunday, 24 March 2013

Tomatoes as technologies

In class last week the professor asked us to think about the technologies presented in the film, Isle of Flowers. I could not help but think that everything depicted in the film, by nature of their positioning, reflected an end product that has been molded by technology, down to the woman buying tomatoes and selling perfumes, to the film's protagonist, the tomato.  Would it be fair to call the tomato a technology?  I don't know, but it remains true, that if left solely to nature, the tomato would not have been produced on that farm, to be to be harvested and sold in the supermarket to the woman, who eventually tossed it out, where it was picked up by the garbage truck, sent to a landfill, found unsuitable for pigs, and eventually left for children in groups of ten to find. Each 'cog' in that technological infrastructure has to do its piece for the system to remain viable, and so perhaps an argument that what's driving the process isn't the so much the humans with the highly developed brains and opposable thumbs, but the technological ecosystem itself. 
In my thinking of "tomatoes as technologies", I googled the term and came up with the following:
"In the Ilocos Region, tomato is one of the major cash crops normally cultivated by farmers during the dry season after rice is harvested. Planting season is from November to December and the bulk of the produce is harvested in February and March. Thus, the local market during this period is generally flooded with locally produced fresh market tomato. Naturally, the price becomes very low, averaging less than P 5 kg (2001). Worse, the supply is much higher than the demand for the product, resulting in a host of marketing problems.” ( The article continues on to address this issue, and in relation to the film, perhaps also shed some insights on why in that particular technologically and economically driven food chain, pigs come before children.


  1. I definitely think that tomatoes can be considered a technology, especially in the context of modern farming. When you think about all the crap and pesticides we put in crops today, not to mention the farming equipment used to plant and harvest crops, as well as the infrastructure surrounding the people who work on farms and the transportation of crops, tomatoes are tied into, and the basis of, tons of technologies.

  2. Most definitely agree with both of you. Even just considering plant breeding qualifies the tomato as a piece of technology.