In essence, compartmentalized thinking is just what it sounds like — sorting ideas into tidy little boxes to isolate them from each other.

While this might be okay on a kid’s dinner plate (can’t get gravy on the peas, after all), it can cause big problems for society.  If everyone is single-mindedly working on their own specialty, who’s working on how those specialties fit together?  (It sure isn’t Congress…)  At its best, compartmentalized thinking oversimplifies complex issues, and at its worst, it prevents us from collaborating to see the big picture.

This is not to say that specialization is bad.  No one person can possibly be a master of everything, and without specialization, we never would have achieved so many great things as a species.  But specialization with no regard for how our skills or our goals fit into the grander scheme of things is a problem.  It’s as if we’re following directions without paying attention to where we’re going.

On this website, we take a look at some of the problems with our food system — plenty of which stem from compartmentalized thinking — and our ideas for solving them.  We hope that we can all work together to break down the artificial barriers we’ve built with compartmentalized thinking.

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