My first week in Toulouse, France was very ensightful, and eyeopening. As a class we visited various markets, farms, The Chamber of Agriculture, and an opera.
In France there is a growing concern among farmers, and agriculturalist in the Chambre D' Agriculture about France's increasing population, and future methods to continue to feed the population. This is a question asked in the United States, and most American agriculturalist will answer that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) is the solution. The use of GMO's is not an option for France, because they are outlawed and believed to be harmful. In the markets here in Toulouse the demand for fresh fruit, meat, and vegetables is very prominent. The farmers market is a mass setup of tents with farmers selling vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, and bread, there are even salesman selling cooked items such as sausage. It was interesting to see how unprocessed the meat was here. Being that I am used to seeing prepackaged meat sold in the store it was very suprising to see a dead chicken for sale behind the counter with its feathers intact.
During this week I was also able to get a glimps of french government. Before the opera scheduled for Wednesday a group of protesters went inside the Opera House, held banners over the railing, and chanted in french. I was told that they were upset about the managers role in the employment system. The newscast filmed the protesters as the police stood by, and did nothing to counteract the angry protesters behavior.The event was handled very differentially compared to back home in Texas. In the United States the protestors behavior would not be tolerated, and the police would have taken control of the protest, and ended it. Eventhough the opera was cancelled on Wednesday we were able to attend the show on Sunday afternoon. I was glad that we were able to attend the opera, because I had never been to an opera before. I really liked the show, because the music being played by the orchestra flowed, and insinuated the actors movements in each act.
Overall my first week in Toulouse was amazing, and I learned new things about French culture, agriculture, and government.