One morning this summer during a sleepy Chemistry lecture, I was sitting next to my lab partner, a young man from Myanmar via Singapore, and I asked him what he thought about his job: Stacking fruits and vegetables into neat pyramids for eight hours a day at a large grocery store in Rainer Beach. Did he ever think about where all this produce came from? How it was grown? Whose hands tended it? I wondered all of these things.
He was amused. Answering with gently incredulous “No?”, capped with an upward lilt and a questioning smirk, — the same one he often used to ridicule me for not knowing better when I got an answer wrong on our homework. Albert, whose real name is Phyo Pyae, is 21 and doesn’t have much space in his mind for thinking about the origins of food. Continue reading