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Smarter Food: Does big farming mean bad farming?

Smarter Food: Does big farming mean bad farming? | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it
In Minnesota, ‘industrial’ operation shows effort to balance economic, environmental sustainability.

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Jason Wilhelm's curator insight, February 27, 2014 11:33 AM

The large-scale agricultural practices of modern America tend to lend to the bad image of commercial farming. However, the practices are actually helping feed more people in the US, but they also use genetically modified crops and other highly debated techniques.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 20, 2014 11:45 AM

Yes it does because in all large scale endeavors, regardless of what for, the quality is always sacrificed for the quantity because it becomes cheaper to produce and profits are greater.

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 3:56 PM

In the long run, a successful farmer needs to find a balance between economic and environmental sustainability.  Some big farms are working towards that so the 'big-equals-bad' narrative about agriculture may be easy, but it doesn't tell the whole story about modern agriculture. 

 

Tags: GMOssustainability, agriculture, agribusiness

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Monsanto threatens to sue the entire state of Vermont

Monsanto threatens to sue the entire state of Vermont | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it
Lawmakers in Vermont are looking to regulate food labels so customers can know which products are made from genetically modified crops, but agricultural giants Monsanto say they will sue if the state follows through.

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Blake Welborn's curator insight, February 27, 2014 11:30 AM

If monsanto can win a course a battle saying they don't have to represent their GMO's on products, then they will be able to win in other places which will further murk up the waters of GMO presentation.

Obed Hernandez's curator insight, February 18, 2015 5:34 PM

Figures!

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 3:58 PM

Questions to ponder: Why is Vermont the first state to make some headway in producing this type of legislation?  Will other states follow suit?  What would the economic impacts be if all places required labels on products that contain genetically modified organisms?  How would that change the agricultural industry?  

 

Tags: GMOs, food, agriculture, agribusiness.  

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In A Grain Of Golden Rice, A World Of Controversy Over GMO Foods

In A Grain Of Golden Rice, A World Of Controversy Over GMO Foods | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it
A rice enriched with beta-carotene promises to boost the health of poor children around the world. But critics say golden rice is also a clever PR move for a biotech industry driven by profits, not humanitarianism.

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Liam Michelsohn's curator insight, December 4, 2013 3:07 PM

I thought this NPR broadcast was a great out of class referece to listen too.  As it explaine all the work and research that was being done with GMOs, it also exposed them for there flaws and what the real motives behind them are. While this ex source of rice with extra vitman A will deffenitly provid more nutitonal value then regular rice, it also provides higher profit margins for the bioengneer compaines that make it. So its almost hard to say weather GMOs are a bad or good thing beacuse they do have benifts, but one thing is clear there not just being made to help the poor, there being made for big profit possibilities.

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 4:52 AM

Alright this is a reason GMF's can be used for good. Asian children do not get enough vitamin a. "When children are weaned, they're often weaned on a rice gruel. And if they don't get any beta-carotene or vitamin A during that period, they can be harmed for the rest of their lives,".

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 3:58 PM

This is a great podcast that emphasizes various geographic themes including agriculture, development and economics.  This new genetically-modified rice was designed to provide vitamin A (something no natural rice provides) to impoverished diets.  Skeptics point out that the history of the industry shows that the goal is to enrich a select number of corporations while some are hailing this as a major advancement that will benefit the poor.  Where people side on this is often ideological, so those that are firmly against genetically modified foods find the flaw in the plan and vice versa.  What do you think?  How might this change food production and consumption worldwide and at a local scale?  

Tags: GMOs, development, NGOs, Food, agriculture, agribusiness, unit 5 agriculture.   

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EU horse meat scandal exposes dangers of globalism

EU horse meat scandal exposes dangers of globalism | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it
When horse meat was discovered in beef hamburgers in Ireland last month, governments, corporations and regulators assured a panicked public that it was complete

 

Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, unit 5 agriculture, globalization, agribusiness.


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chris tobin's comment, February 28, 2013 3:44 PM
Yes the industry is all about money. The US needs to change their ways, especially in the beef and poultry business. Its mass production, inhumane to animals, and unhealthy .
Adrian Bahan (MNPS)'s curator insight, March 7, 2013 8:12 PM

What trends in agribusiness are conveyed in this map?

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 5:30 PM

Why would someone want to do that to a horse? Horses are a great addition to the world because they can come in handy when it comes to pulling cargo and other objects also. Horses are having helped people for hundreds of years. I would go crazy if I found out I was eating horse meet. I am very surprised that those people from Ireland did not find out. There should really be an organization that checks the meet before it goes to supermarkets and other places. 

 

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The Global Food Waste Scandal

TED Talks Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible -- but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.

 

No one should be surprised that more developed societies are more wasteful societies.  It is not just personal wasting of food at the house and restaurants that are the problem.  Perfectly edible food is thrown out due to size (smaller than standards but perfectly normal), cosmetics (Bananas that are shaped 'funny') and costumer preference (discarded bread crust).  This is an intriguing perpective on our consumptive culture, but it also is helpful in framing issues such as sustainability and human and environmental interactions in a technologically advanced societies that are often removed form the land where the food they eat originates. 

 

Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, sustainability, TED, video, unit 5 agriculture.


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Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 6:13 PM

Ted explains it well how we all waste perfectly good food that people would like to eat. Also it was amazing how much food was in the dumpsters that was just a day or week old. That meat could feed hundreds of people that are struggling to eat and all that meet to waste. 

megan b clement's curator insight, December 16, 2013 1:51 AM

Ted talks about just how wasteful our planet is. How we just ignore the issue and act like it will  not affect us in the future. When he shows you video and pictures of massive piles of the ends of a loaf of bread or all the food that Stop and Shop throws out because it does not "look" good for the customer. How every little bit of help counts you can try to make a little bit of an effort to be less wasteful. We have so much unnecessary waste. Like when he uses the example of how many people throw away the ends of a loaf of bread then he shows the waste of the ends of bread in massive piles it makes you sick. Especially with all of the hungry people in the world we need to be more resourceful.

 

 

Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 21, 2014 2:13 PM

No one should be surprised that more developed societies are more wasteful societies.  It is not just personal wasting of food at the house and restaurants that are the problem.  Perfectly edible food is thrown out due to size (smaller than standards but perfectly normal), cosmetics (Bananas that are shaped 'funny') and costumer preference (discarded bread crust).  This is an intriguing perceptive on our consumptive culture, but it also is helpful in framing issues such as sustainability and human and environmental interactions in a technologically advanced societies that are often removed form the land where the food they eat originates. 


Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, sustainability, TED, video, unit 5 agriculture.

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A Nation Of Meat Eaters: See How It All Adds Up

Americans eat more meat than almost anyone else in the world, but habits are starting to change. This may be in part because of health and environmental concerns. We explore some of the meat trends and changes in graphs and charts.

 

Often we hear about the dietary impact of meat consumption at the personal scale, but what are the environmental impacts of heavy meat consumption on a global scale?  Even more telling than the podcast are the charts and infographics that are connected to this article.  Not all meats have the same environmental impact (beef is much less environmentally efficient than chicken, pork or turkey).   As globalization has spread, American cultural preferences have changed worldwide taste preferences.  As the global population rises, the impact of meat consumption is now a major environmental concern. 


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Food Machine

Food Machine | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it

UPDATE: The PBS episode "Food Machine" premiered on April 11th, 2012 on the series "America Revealed."  Now the episode is available online. 

 

"Over the past century, an American industrial revolution has given rise to the biggest, most productive food machine the world has ever known.  In this episode, host Yul Kwon explores how this machine feeds nearly 300 million Americans every day. He discovers engineering marvels we’ve created by putting nature to work and takes a look at the costs of our insatiable appetite on our health and environment.  For the first time in human history, less than 2% of the population can feed the other 98%." 


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Adrian Bahan (MNPS)'s curator insight, March 7, 2013 8:46 PM

This is a great video covering our industrial agricultural complex

Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, November 27, 2013 5:13 PM

The Industrial Revolution really changed things, but it is hardly an improvement, because so many people are without the benefits of the rich percentage.  People's roles are becoming solid components that are entirely replacable and part of the machine rather than becoming creative- and by creative, I don't just mean artsy.  I think that the Research and Development part of any machine entity is the part that allows it to adapt and modify in order to change for the better and the greater good.  I look at humans as an alien species inhabiting a planet, and I could make the analogy to a college fraternity.   The planet is a mess, people try to make a buck off each other at every given opportunity, and I particularly dislike that the rich people band together like frat brothers, instead of giving less-priveledged persons the opportunity to attain equal status.  I don't think like everyone else, but I do make efforts to partake in realistic activism to cause change for the betterment of all beings- human or not.  I do believe in predestination, and that everything around us is a material and spiritual echo from the dawn of creation, but I also believe that the flaws present today will disappear tomorrow through courses of events where chosen people will alter the formation of the future, for the benefit of all beings.  Right now, with people undertipping pizza delivery men, and not donating the optional dollar at stop and shop, it is the flawed 'today' phase of the timeline, but the Industrial Revolution has made it easier for society to embrace component roles, however replacable or expendable, and that in the end will achieve greater contentment and universal success.

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Monsanto threatens to sue the entire state of Vermont

Monsanto threatens to sue the entire state of Vermont | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it
Lawmakers in Vermont are looking to regulate food labels so customers can know which products are made from genetically modified crops, but agricultural giants Monsanto say they will sue if the state follows through.

Via Seth Dixon
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Blake Welborn's curator insight, February 27, 2014 11:30 AM

If monsanto can win a course a battle saying they don't have to represent their GMO's on products, then they will be able to win in other places which will further murk up the waters of GMO presentation.

Obed Hernandez's curator insight, February 18, 2015 5:34 PM

Figures!

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 3:58 PM

Questions to ponder: Why is Vermont the first state to make some headway in producing this type of legislation?  Will other states follow suit?  What would the economic impacts be if all places required labels on products that contain genetically modified organisms?  How would that change the agricultural industry?  

 

Tags: GMOs, food, agriculture, agribusiness.  

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McDonald’s® Packaging

McDonald’s® Packaging | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it

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Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 7, 2013 9:58 AM

I have eaten McDonalds fries and bunch of times and never thought about what 'golden standard" actually meant. McDonalds like it says in the article is one of the top potoate buyers in the world. I'm sure most other fast food places aren' too far behind. However since McDonalds is one of the top buyers of potatoes farmers much make sure they produce enough of the potatoes that McDonalds sells. However it doesn't stop there. Not only do farmers have to produce enough potatoes, but they have to produce quality potatoes. All of McDonalds fries look exactly the same. You never really get a french fry that looks extremely different. That is done on purpose. McDonalds only purchases potatoes that meet their "golden standard". This makes you think how much goes to watste. Farmers are probably discarding "bad" potatoes all the time that don't meet the "golden standard". Does it really matter what the fries look like, if they taste the same? There are people in the world who are hungry, yet we waste food like this all the time. I really don't think it is that big of a deal if not every french fry looks exactly the same. We should make an attempt at trying to limit our food waste. 

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 5:42 PM

Fries are the essential food that everyone enjoys in the world. But it is a good thing because if a potato has a growth defect probably that would affect someone and that is a law suit waiting to happen. In the United States people love suing for anything that they could probably win and receive money. The fries are delicious but they are so fattening that could really effect people if they have any issues with there health. 

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 3:59 PM

The packaging on the McDonald's fry box states, "Why are our fries the gold standard? Because only a select number of potato varieties make the cut. I'm lovin' it®"  This is a message is primarily aimed at millions of individual consumers.  As geographers who analyze systems, we can look at this message for meaning beyond taste and quality control in how it affect both urban and rural places.  Given that McDonald's is the United States' largest purchaser of potatoes, what are the economic and agricultural implications for their fry selection on the market(s)?  How does this impact farmers, consumers, competitors and other groups?   

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EU horse meat scandal exposes dangers of globalism

EU horse meat scandal exposes dangers of globalism | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it
When horse meat was discovered in beef hamburgers in Ireland last month, governments, corporations and regulators assured a panicked public that it was complete

 

Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, unit 5 agriculture, globalization, agribusiness.


Via Seth Dixon
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chris tobin's comment, February 28, 2013 3:44 PM
Yes the industry is all about money. The US needs to change their ways, especially in the beef and poultry business. Its mass production, inhumane to animals, and unhealthy .
Adrian Bahan (MNPS)'s curator insight, March 7, 2013 8:12 PM

What trends in agribusiness are conveyed in this map?

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 5:30 PM

Why would someone want to do that to a horse? Horses are a great addition to the world because they can come in handy when it comes to pulling cargo and other objects also. Horses are having helped people for hundreds of years. I would go crazy if I found out I was eating horse meet. I am very surprised that those people from Ireland did not find out. There should really be an organization that checks the meet before it goes to supermarkets and other places. 

 

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What You Need to Know About Genetically Engineered Food

What You Need to Know About Genetically Engineered Food | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it
Myths and facts about health, corruption, and saving the world

Tags: food, agriculture, agribusiness, locavore, unit 5 agriculture.


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Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, November 27, 2013 4:59 PM

I mentioned this through an allusion in another article, but GMOs and the movements against them perplex me.  I don't think that fossil-fuel burning engines are natural, but many anti GMO people that claim they are bad for the environment leave me completely stunned as to their intolerance for what could possibly  benefit other people.  I feel very much an outsider when I examine many topics of controversy related to GMOs, and I am quite sure that I have consumed them before -- and loved them?  as for the FDA... I don't approve of the FDA.  They like more money coming into their pocket more than bettered well-being of citizens.  When I mentioned to my doctor that I wanted to apply for medical marijuana for a series of conditions that I have following a severe accident, I was told that they refused because it was not fully endorsed, approved, or even allowed by the FDA.  That really pissed me off because I suffer from excruciating pain every day and night of my life.  Could you imagine being a poor person in need of food, and the only viable way of getting food was through the production of GMOs...? and then some pseudo-hippie activists that didn't live through the 1960s trying to be all like, "We don't want anyone to have GMOs!"... I pose that abstractly, because I view most everything with a level of abstraction and distance from the situation, sampling perspectives with which I may empathize or consider.  I keep thinking that this world around us all came from a big bang, with other possible universes before that, and something  before that... and I really can't see Capitalism ever becoming as bad as it is, with such disregard for other people's wellbeing, until I look at today's world.

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 4:02 PM

So many articles about organic or genetically engineered foods are written with someone with a very defined position on the subject (much like abortion, gun control or other controversial topics).  This article is an attempt to separate out the good the bad and the ugly regarding genetically engineered foods.   

Aidan Lowery's curator insight, March 21, 12:00 PM
unit 5
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Does the U.S. need more agricultural diversity?

Does the U.S. need more agricultural diversity? | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it
The disaster underscores the need to diversify our crops.

 

AAG: The drought that has hammered much of the country has clearly illustrated the dangers that come with limited agricultural diversity, writes Macalester College geography professor William G. Moseley in this opinion piece. Federal subsidies have encouraged the growth of corn, but this crop is quite vulnerable to drought, Moseley writes. "A more diverse cropping landscape would mean viable farms, healthier diets and a steadier food system," he writes.


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Ardent Moth's comment, August 18, 2012 2:13 PM
You'd think this would be obvious, you know, ever since the Potato Famine. Monocropping is a failure in design.
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Our Dwindling Food Variety

Our Dwindling Food Variety | AP Human GeographyNRHS | Scoop.it

"As we've come to depend on a handful of commercial varieties of fruits and vegetables, thousands of heirloom varieties have disappeared. It's hard to know exactly how many have been lost over the past century, but a study conducted in 1983 by the Rural Advancement Foundation International gave a clue to the scope of the problem. It compared USDA listings of seed varieties sold by commercial U.S. seed houses in 1903 with those in the U.S. National Seed Storage Laboratory in 1983. The survey, which included 66 crops, found that about 93 percent of the varieties had gone extinct. More up-to-date studies are needed." 

 

To show the other side of the issue, include this minor, yet crucial part of the article: "A 30-year-old plant pathologist named Norman Borlaug traveled to Mexico in 1944 to help fight a stem rust epidemic that had caused widespread famine. Crossing different wheat varieties from all over the world, he arrived at a rust-resistant, high-yield hybrid that helped India and Pakistan nearly double their wheat production—and saved a billion people from starvation. This so-called green revolution helped introduce modern industrialized agriculture to the developing world." 


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, November 1, 2013 5:23 PM

"As we've come to depend on a handful of commercial varieties of fruits and vegetables, thousands of heirloom varieties have disappeared. It's hard to know exactly how many have been lost over the past century, but a study conducted in 1983 by the Rural Advancement Foundation International gave a clue to the scope of the problem. It compared USDA listings of seed varieties sold by commercial U.S. seed houses in 1903 with those in the U.S. National Seed Storage Laboratory in 1983. The survey, which included 66 crops, found that about 93 percent of the varieties had gone extinct. More up-to-date studies are needed." 

 

To show the other side of the issue, include this minor, yet crucial part of the article: "A 30-year-old plant pathologist named Norman Borlaug traveled to Mexico in 1944 to help fight a stem rust epidemic that had caused widespread famine. Crossing different wheat varieties from all over the world, he arrived at a rust-resistant, high-yield hybrid that helped India and Pakistan nearly double their wheat production—and saved a billion people from starvation. This so-called green revolution helped introduce modern industrialized agriculture to the developing world."

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 16, 2014 9:13 AM

This article is based on a study done by the Rural Advancement Foundation in 1983. Over the past century, it is hard to know what foods were lost and how many of each. But this study done by RAF gave us some information to solve the problem. It compared USDA listings of seed varieties sold by commercial U.S. seed houses in 1903 with those in the U.S. National Seed Storage Laboratory in 1983. The survey, which included 66 crops, found that about 93 percent of the varieties had gone extinct. 93 percent of these crops have gone extinct. That is a huge chunk that could be used as resources. This tree starts off with ten crops on it. The tree included: beet, cabbage, sweet corn, lettuce, muskmelon, peas, radish, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. In 1903, all these numbers were up, up, up. The lowest starting with beet at 288 ranging up to the highest with lettuce at 497. However, 80 years later in 1983, numbers dropped. The highest then shifted to tomatoes at 79 and the lowest shifted to sweet corn at 12.

Alex Smiga's curator insight, February 13, 12:18 PM

From a scientific view point it almost seems like we are making ourselves into specialists in an ecological / dietary way.  Limiting our available food resources and hoping against the odds that we don't suffer the same fate as other specialist species of the past.

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Genetically Modified Foods

"93% of Americans want the FDA to label genetically engineered foods. Watch the new video from Food, Inc. Filmmaker Robert Kenner to hear why we have the right to know what's in our food."

 

Clearly this video has a political agenda, but this is a pertinent video to show in an Agriculture unit.  Many countries around the world require the labeling of genetically modified food products, while the United States (currently) does not. 

 

For more on the organization that sponsored this video see: http://justlabelit.org/

 

For a Health blog about how this impacts nutrition, see: http://blogs.prevention.com/inspired-bites/2012/03/14/french-women-dont-eat-what/

 

For more on political action currently underway in the United States, see: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/55-congress-members-ask-fda-to-label-genetically-engineered-foods/


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Adrian Bahan (MNPS)'s curator insight, March 7, 2013 8:21 PM

Why does the United States not have laws on the books that force companies to list GMO products on labels?

Liam Michelsohn's curator insight, December 4, 2013 2:51 PM

When looking at the issue of GMO there is one things that clear... people want to know what food is Genneictly Modified. While most poeple dont read every lable of every food product, it is different when decided how many claories something has versus knowing weather its been genneitcly enginegnered or not. I also think anouther factor why the US hasnt enforced the labeling of GMO is beacuse many companies may be forced out of business and could have a efffects on encomy.

Justin McCullough's curator insight, December 12, 2013 12:43 PM

Looking at the issue of GMOs, I think it is important to label the foods that we are consuming. As it is stated over and over in the video, we do have a right to know. If cigarettes are labelled to be dangerous and hazardous to your health, shouldn't we do the same thing with our foods that we eat on a daily basis? I feel that the map that was given in this video was very helpful and exposing.