Geography Education
Find tag "agribusiness"
1.2M views | +341 today
Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

How Meteorology Changed Agriculture Forever

How Meteorology Changed Agriculture Forever | Geography Education |
Early meteorology helped farmers predict yield, transforming the agricultural industry.


Complaining over the weather is not new, but the science of studying the weather, and its effects on business, is fairly recent. Around [1920], economists were also starting to use statistical methods to predict yield. Although cotton’s price, as shown on the New York Cotton Exchange, fluctuated daily, a “well-known American economist” discovered that he could make the most accurate total yield predictions—more accurate than those of the government crop reports—by analyzing the average weather conditions from May to August. It was now possible to predict when the crops would have a bumper year or a poor one.


Tags: physicalweather and climate, food production, agribusiness, agriculture.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

NESTVAL 2015: The Geography of Food

"My 2015 NESTVAL presentation in an APHG session on the geography of food."

Seth Dixon's insight:

In this presentation (PPTx file here), I share some of my favorite resources for teaching the content as well as some pedagogical tips.  Some of these resources are found in an article I wrote for National Geographic or have been shared on this site earlier.  Here are some pedagogical tips to APHG students about food systems:  

  • Tip#1: Don’t demonize agribusiness or romanticize the family farm. 
  • Tip #2: Use data and maps.  Here is a map in ArcGIS online on rural land use activities with a handy dandy instruction guide, ready to go (many more APHG GeoInquiries from ESRI set to be released soon). 
  • Tip #3: Connect them personally into the web of food systems and show how it impacts them. 
  • Tip #4: Let this be one of those units that connects to all the themes of the course, especially population, culture, political, and the environment.  

Tags: foodeconomicfood production, agribusiness, agriculture, APHG.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, October 10, 2015 6:09 PM

Things to consider when teaching about food production from a geographical perspective - remember to link to Biomes.

asli telli's curator insight, October 15, 2015 1:40 AM

#Food is #geographical and #mobile...

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Overpackaged Foods

Tagsfoodeconomicfood production, agribusiness, agriculture, unit 5 agriculture,

No comment yet.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Living in the Shadow of Industrial Farming

"The world eats cheap bacon at the expense of North Carolina's rural poor." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

In a recent article by QZ (the video above comes from the same investigation), they explore the negative impacts of the pork industry.  People love their bacon memes, but forget about social and environmental impacts of an increased global trend towards higher pork consumption

Tags: food, agriculture, agribusiness, unit 5 agriculture, agricultural environment, environment, environment modify, pollution. 

Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, August 17, 2015 1:50 PM

Industrial farming, manure lagoons... do you know this type of farming?

Lilydale High School's curator insight, August 17, 2015 7:33 PM

Consequences of living near industrial sites - even if it is farming.

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, September 28, 2015 12:23 PM

This is pretty insane. I've seen other video's where it is a similar situation around chicken farms in the U.S. The people can't even go outside most of the time due to the smell, and it makes me wonder how much of the way we eat is truly devastating the planet. Beyond the smell, I can't help wonder what these types of farms would do the ground water beneath.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Seaweed Farms in South Korea

Seaweed Farms in South Korea | Geography Education |

The dark squares that make up the checkerboard pattern in this image are fields of a sort—fields of seaweed. Along the south coast of South Korea, seaweed is often grown on ropes, which are held near the surface with buoys. This technique ensures that the seaweed stays close enough to the surface to get enough light during high tide but doesn’t scrape against the bottom during low tide.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image of seaweed cultivation in the shallow waters around Sisan Island on January 31, 2014. Today, about 90 percent of all the seaweed that humans consume globally is farmed. That may be good for the environment. In comparison to other types of food production, seaweed farming has a light environmental footprint because it does not require fresh water or fertilizer.

LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, April 28, 2015 9:47 AM

Yet I wonder: After Fukushima, will seaweed glow in the dark? Are they checking harvested seaweed for radioactive pollution?

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 1, 2015 4:03 PM

Hate to toot my own horn, but we South Koreans are pretty smart.  :-)  This is a great idea!  I wonder what sea life feeds on seaweed?  Is there a chance for any bacteria to mess with the seaweed?  I wonder if we could do this in other places versus having it imported.  There are heavily populated American cities with a market for Asian food.  But then how does polluted water play a role or high bacteria days?  I certainly feel afraid to eat fish out of the Seekonk.  

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Teaching the Geography of Food

Teaching the Geography of Food | Geography Education |

"Food. It’s something we all think about, talk about, and need. Food has been one major topic of interest at National Geographic because it connects all of us to our environment. The recent global population projections for the year 2100 just went up from 9 billion to 11 billion, making the issues of food production and distribution all the more important.  For the last 3 years I’ve stored podcasts, articles, videos, and other resources on my personal site on a wide range of geographic issues, including food resources.  I thought that sharing 10 of my personal favorite resources on the geography of food would be helpful to understand our changing global food systems."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I've posted here several resources about the food systems and the geography of food production and distribution.  In this article for National Geographic Education I share ten of my favorites. 

Tagsfoodeconomicfood production, agribusiness, agriculture.

Claire Law's curator insight, April 26, 2015 2:01 AM

Ten engaging resources on the geography of food

Kaiden-Leigh Cloete's curator insight, April 29, 2015 11:15 PM

This topic connects to our agricultural unit. This article describes the explaining of food. Knowing where our food comes from is a big component in lit today, with all the GMO's going around we don't know what we r busy consuming daily. Having more information in our minds about food would help decrease the long term affects of genetically modified organisms, help maintain a healthy economy, provide more resources such as water, because if GMO's do come to an end then the water will not be as polluted as it is now due to the runoff from the remaining chemicals in GMO's, and also provide a healthy environment for everyone. 

Lydia Tsao's curator insight, May 26, 2015 2:10 AM

I absolutely love this article. It touches on many of the most important and challenging issues facing food production in the world, ranging from food manufacturing ethics to global hunger. I think it's interesting how, although we all eat food everyday, we don't think about the many implications associated with the production and consumption of food. To more privileged people, food is not a big deal, as anyone can get food at any time of day. However, for people who are trying to solve the problems associated with food in the modern world or for people who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition, the information presented in this article is extremely important. Brilliant minds can come together to propose potential solutions for all the problems facing food distribution. I can't wait for the day every child can go to bed with a full stomach, and I am willing to do my part to help make that happen.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Inside The Indiana Megadairy Making Coca-Cola's New Milk

Inside The Indiana Megadairy Making Coca-Cola's New Milk | Geography Education |
Coca-Cola got a lot of attention in November when it announced it was going into the milk business. In fact, its extra-nutritious milk product was invented by some dairy farmers in Indiana.
Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, January 23, 2015 12:25 PM

unit 5

Norka McAlister's curator insight, February 2, 2015 5:11 PM

As the main producer of certain crops and hogs, the state of Indiana has been chosen by Coca-Cola to spearhead a new innovative project regarding an improved flavor of milk in the future. Indiana’s prime location and abundance of raw materials positively contributed to the decision to establish the project’s headquarters in this state. As a result, it is expected that this innovation will boost Indiana’s economy and create for jobs and advancements in technology. This project allows Coca-Cola the opportunity to expand its brand and offer healthier beverage options to the consumer.

Katie's curator insight, March 23, 2015 11:34 PM

This article is about how coco cola is going into the milk business. There source for milk is from Fair Oaks Farm. This dairy is Americas one and only dairy theme park. I think this would be an example of large scale commercial agriculture and agribusiness.  

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

The Data-Driven Farm

"Mr. Tom is as much a chief technology officer as he is a farmer. Where his great-great-grandfather hitched a mule, 'we’ve got sensors on the combine, GPS data from satellites, cellular modems on self-driving tractors, apps for irrigation on iPhones,' he said.

The demise of the small family farm has been a long time coming. But for farmers like Mr. Tom, technology offers a lifeline, a way to navigate the boom-and-bust cycles of making a living from the land. It is also helping them grow to compete with giant agribusinesses."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The New York Times article associated with the video above offers a great glimpse into the inner works of how agribusiness technologies have transformed the American family farm.  

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

No comment yet.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Feeding the Whole World

"Louise Fresco argues that a smart approach to large-scale, industrial farming and food production will feed our planet's incoming population of nine billion. Only foods like (the scorned) supermarket white bread, she says, will nourish on a global scale."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Many advocates of local foods favor a small-scale approach to farming and are opposed to large-scale agribusiness. It might be easy for those disconnected from the food production system (like me) to romanticize and mythologize the farmers of yesteryear and yearn to return to this past.  This talk highlights how essential large-scale farming is absolutely critical to feeding the global population; this other TED talk discusses many of the hunger problems especially the uneven access to food.  Here are some other pro-agribusiness resources.   

Tags: agriculture, food production, food distribution, agribusiness, TED

Marianne Naughton's curator insight, October 19, 2014 12:07 PM

Feed The World ...

dilaycock's curator insight, October 19, 2014 6:45 PM

Fresco argues that we tend to see "home-made" agriculture as a thing of beauty, whereas the reality is that many small scale farmers struggle and live a subsistence lifestyle. The adoration of small-scale farming, notes Fresco, is a luxury to those who can afford it. Large-scale production has increased the availability and affordability of food. Food production should be given as high a priority as climate change and sustainability, and we should seriously consider ways in which land can be used as a multi-purpose space that includes agriculture.

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, October 24, 2014 10:55 AM

Louise Fresco speaks of local food production and small scale control

and the entire food nework

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious

The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious | Geography Education |

"For at least 70 years, the Red Delicious has dominated apple production in the United States. But since the turn of the 21st century, as the market has filled with competitors—the Gala, the Fuji, the Honeycrisp—its lead has been narrowing. Annual output has plunged."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The story of the Red Delicious is almost a perfect analogy for the food industry.  It was genetically selected for its marketable skin, an aesthetically sumptuous red.  The skin of the Red Delicious better covers bruises than other varieties and tastes more bitter.  Consumers were buying what the industry promoted and “eating with their eyes and not their mouths.”  But recently there has been a backlash in the United States and more American consumer are seeking out other varieties; meanwhile the apple producers are working on exporting this variety to around the world, but especially into Chinese markets.  

Tags: agriculture, food production, food distribution, agribusiness, USA

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 4:55 AM

Oh how do I hate these waxy beauties. I remember in elementary school they offered these apples and I took a bite and had never tasted something so evil and wrong. Apples are supposed to be fresh, not tasteless and with no nutrients.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

'The Great Fish Swap': How America Is Downgrading Its Seafood Supply

'The Great Fish Swap': How America Is Downgrading Its Seafood Supply | Geography Education |

"One-third of the seafood Americans catch is sold abroad, but most of the seafood we eat here is imported and often of lower quality. Why? Author Paul Greenberg says it has to do with American tastes."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The United States exports the best-quality seafood that Americans catch, but import primarily low-grade aquacultural products.  This is just one of the counter-intuitive issues withe U.S. fish consumption and production.  This bizarre dynamic has cultural and economic explanations and this NPR podcast nicely explains these spatial patterns that are bound to frustrate those that advocate for locally sourced food productions. 

Tagsfood production, industry, food, agriculture, agribusinessconsumptioneconomic, sustainability.

HazelAnne Prescott's curator insight, July 31, 2014 10:56 AM

Seems like a messed up system.  We do not have "taste"

Abigail Mack's curator insight, July 31, 2014 11:27 AM

What would make Americans opt for the lower quality, imported fish?

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

China’s hungry cattle feasting on alfalfa grown on Utah farm

China’s hungry cattle feasting on alfalfa grown on Utah farm | Geography Education |
China has long depended on the U.S. breadbasket, importing up to $26 billion in U.S. agricultural products yearly. But increasingly, Chinese investors aren’t just buying from farms abroad. They’re buying the farms.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Globalization is often described as a homogenizing force, but is also pairs together odd bed fellows.  A small Utah town near the Colorado border, Jensen is now home to the largest Chinese-owned hay farm in the United States. Utah's climate is right for growing alfalfa, and China's growing cattle industry make this a natural global partnership.  Large container ships come to the United States from China, and return fairly empty, making the transportation price relatively affordable.  While this might make economic sense on a global scale, local water concerns in the west show that this isn't without it's problems.  Water resources are scarce and many see this as a depletion of local water exported to China.  Some states see this as a threat and are considering banning foreign ownership of farmland.  This article shows the merging of various geographic themes: the global and local, the industrial and the agricultural, the human and the physical.         

Tags: agriculture, agribusinesstransportation, globalizationwaterChinaindustry, economic, physical, Utah.

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, July 7, 2014 10:41 AM
strong>Seth Dixon's insight: China buying farm land
MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:06 PM


MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:15 PM


Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Smarter Food: Does big farming mean bad farming?

Smarter Food: Does big farming mean bad farming? | Geography Education |
In Minnesota, ‘industrial’ operation shows effort to balance economic, environmental sustainability.
Seth Dixon's insight:

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

Pranav Pradeep's curator insight, February 27, 2014 11:24 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.

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.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Dear Subway, I really wish you would have talked to a farmer.

Dear Subway, I really wish you would have talked to a farmer. | Geography Education |

"Dear Subway, I really wish you would have talked to a farmer. I really wish you would have done so before your big announcement saying you would, as of 2016, be sourcing all of your turkey and chicken as being raised without antibiotics."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is not a typical source, but it captures an important perspective on our food production systems.  Some policies (like this one from Subway) are designed to increase customer confidence in the quality of the product, but they don't reflect some of the practical issues that farmers have to face on the farm.  

Tags: foodeconomicfood production, agribusiness.

Meridith Hembree Berry's curator insight, November 9, 2015 10:45 AM

I understand the concern over eating meat that has residual antibiotics, but I also understand that disease in animals is as cruel as in humans.  Do we let the animals die from a treatable disease?  Think of the chicken farmers in Iowa who had to destroy their entire flock because of bird flu. What if an antibiotic would have kept the birds healthy?  There is a waiting period after treating an animal before it is safe to harvest for meat, responsible producers know this and abide by best practices.  It is frustrating when a group criticized producers for not caring for their livestock and in the next breath complain about the drugs used to treat them.  

Meat does not come from a machine. There a hundreds of variables that go into producing the safest most reliable food supply on the planet. Three words for those who are still in doubt: Grow Your Own. 

Vicki Bedingfield's curator insight, November 15, 2015 4:58 PM

Food production

Cade Johns's curator insight, January 7, 6:47 PM

Why are they not using antibiotics?Is it to be healthier or for flavor.Either one should attract different crowds.The healthier alternative brings healthier people in there.C.J.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Food Processing

"Trying to break a whole lamb into steaks and roasts in just a little over three minutes."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Where does our food come from?  As the global population becomes more urban, the percentage of our population that is more disconnected from their food sources grows.  Additionally, our economic system works to actively separate consumers from the unseemly parts of the commodity chains, in hopes that our propensity to spend money on more goods won't decline.  All animals killed for human consumption go through some sort of butchering process before they become a meat product that we might recognize in the grocery store. 

Tags: foodeconomicfood production, agribusiness.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Product of Mexico: Hardship on Mexico's farms, a bounty for U.S. tables

Product of Mexico: Hardship on Mexico's farms, a bounty for U.S. tables | Geography Education |

"Farm exports to the U.S. from Mexico have tripled to $7.6 billion in the last decade, enriching agribusinesses, distributors and retailers.
American consumers get all the salsa, squash and melons they can eat at affordable prices. And top U.S. brands — Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Subway and Safeway, among many others — profit from produce they have come to depend on.These corporations say their Mexican suppliers have committed to decent treatment and living conditions for workers.  But a Los Angeles Times investigation found that for thousands of farm laborers south of the border, the export boom is a story of exploitation and extreme hardship."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a hard read, but it is important to understand that there is a dark underbelly to many of the economic systems that are reshaping the world today.  Sometimes we ask all the wrong questions, like "why is organic, local, or fair trade food so expensive?"  We should really be asking why the other options are so cheap. 

This, unfortunately is part of the answer.  This is a 4-part series (I-camps, II-labor, III-Company Stores, IV-Child Labor) from the LA Times that has excellent pictures, videos, and interviews highlighting the working conditions of farm workers in Mexico.  For an audio version, here is an NPR podcast interviewing Richard Marosi, the investigator behind the story.    

Tagsfoodeconomic, laborglobalizationfood production, agribusiness, agriculture, unit 5 agriculture, indigenous.

Anneliese Sjogren's curator insight, September 29, 2015 9:03 PM

The exploitation of these people is incredibly sad. I can't believe that some workers have to live in these filthy conditions without even a bed, all at the cost of Americans getting cheaper produce. The fact also that the workers are usually the poor indigenous people is also really horrifying. They work 6 days a week for $8 -$12 total for that week.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

The Precision Agriculture Revolution

The Precision Agriculture Revolution | Geography Education |

"Thousands of years ago, agriculture began as a highly site-specific activity. The first farmers were gardeners who nurtured individual plants, and they sought out the microclimates and patches of soil that favored those plants. But as farmers acquired scientific knowledge and mechanical expertise, they enlarged their plots, using standardized approaches—plowing the soil, spreading animal manure as fertilizer, rotating the crops from year to year—to boost crop yields. Over the years, they developed better methods of preparing the soil and protecting plants from insects and, eventually, machines to reduce the labor required. Starting in the nineteenth century, scientists invented chemical pesticides and used newly discovered genetic principles to select for more productive plants. Even though these methods maximized overall productivity, they led some areas within fields to underperform. Nonetheless, yields rose to once-unimaginable levels: for some crops, they increased tenfold from the nineteenth century to the present.  

Today, however, the trend toward ever more uniform practices is starting to reverse, thanks to what is known as 'precision agriculture.' Taking advantage of information technology, farmers can now collect precise data about their fields and use that knowledge to customize how they cultivate each square foot."

Tags: technologyfood production, agriculture, agribusiness, spatial, GPS.

Landon Conner's curator insight, November 3, 2015 8:57 PM

Our world has evolved and changed many ways in agriculture than it used to be. We've changed from horses pulling plows to using tractors with mowers on the back. Planting seeds by hand one at a time to using machines that can plant ten at a time five times faster. Watering plants one at a time to using water hoses. Our generation has advanced in farming technology and is helping our agricultural community. LDC

Cade Johns's curator insight, November 5, 2015 7:49 PM

Over the years agriculture has changed for the better,production has increased, pesticides have helped development,and technology has helped speed up the production and make the quantity bigger. CJ

Cade Johns's curator insight, December 2, 2015 9:57 AM

Agriculture has evolved very much over time to many different methods of growing things and theyve changed the way we affect the soil.-CJ

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

We're all gonna die!

We're all gonna die! | Geography Education |

"Yes. It’s true. In the meantime, I’d also like to live. Except, nobody wants to let me live--they all want to remind me of how I’m going to die, or how I’m going to cause my children to die. I was packing my kid’s lunch the other day, and tossed in a Twinkie with a smile and stroke of endearment, when I happened to glance at my kid's class newsletter on the table. It informed me that if I feed my child Twinkies, I might as well be feeding him rocket fuel."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I can't agree with everything mentioned in this article, but the overall message something that I do think is worth discussing.  Our society can be swayed by fear and a few statistics to wildly overreact to a situation (Ebola, Y2K, etc.).  So many movies tap into the our societal fears that an over dependence on technology or chemical alterations will destroy humanity (like Terminator, the Matrix, the Net, etc.).  The anti-GMO movement successfully taps into that cultural zeitgeist, and some like 'the Food Babe' stir up fear to the chagrin of many scientists.     


Tags: GMOstechnology, agriculture, agribusiness.

asli telli's curator insight, April 15, 2015 12:49 AM

Who's feeding us rocket fuel?

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

How American Agriculture Works

How American Agriculture Works | Geography Education |
There really are two different Americas: the heartland, and the coasts....
Seth Dixon's insight:

These maps together show that most of the grain from the American breadbasket does not directly on the table but into the feed trough.  I imagined before I saw this data that the percentage of animal feed in the Midwest would be higher than the rest of the United States, but I would not have guessed that it was that high. 

Tagsfoodeconomicfood production, agribusiness, agriculture.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, January 29, 2015 2:38 PM

These maps are interesting, in the fact that the heartland of the United States differs so much from either coast.  Both the coasts, as seen in the first map grow fruits and vegetables.  The center of the country grows wheat, and wheat is the dominant  crop of the country.  This might account for the reason why fruits and vegetables are more expensive than grain based products.  The second map helps to drive home this point even further, of how different the coasts are from the heartland.  What I also thought was funny, however, was the author's comment that it looks like an electoral map.  Perhaps, the reason heartland states tend to side with each other and republicans is because of shared interests in the political arena.

Adriene Mannas's curator insight, March 22, 2015 10:24 AM

Unit 5 Agricultural and Rural Land Use


This picture and article talks about the main use of the agricultural growth in the United States. It shows how most and almost all of the agribusiness is in the growth of feed and food for animals on the ranches rather than humans. The amount of money made is astounding with how far the table tilts toward animal feed.


This relates to Human Geography because agriculture is one of the main points. It shows how people use agribusiness and ow it leans more toward the consumption of animals rather than humans. 

Daniel Lindahl's curator insight, May 25, 2015 1:22 PM

This link consists of two maps that show agricultural land use in America. Nearly all of the "breadbasket region" is used not to feed people, but rather to create feed for cows and other animals. 

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

French scallops cleaned in China then sent back

French scallops cleaned in China then sent back | Geography Education |
Scallops pulled out of the waters off the western coast of France are taken on an incredible journey that sees them shipped off to China to be cleaned, before being sent all the way back to France to be cooked up. Producers say its worth the cost.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This type of nonsense only makes sense in a world where the bottom dollar is the only way to way to evaluate decisions.  However, resource conservation (think of the food miles!), fair labor prices, and the preservation of local cultural economies are certainly issues that should be considered. 

Tagsfoodeconomic, laborglobalizationfood production, agribusiness, agriculture.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, January 22, 2015 6:50 PM

this is crazy

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, January 22, 2015 7:03 PM

This makes absolutely no sense to me.  How does the freshness of the scallop even last a trip like this?  What is the transportation time back and forth? 

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

A hard look at corn economics — and world hunger

A hard look at corn economics — and world hunger | Geography Education |
Corn is not what you think. For starters: Most of the time, it's not human food.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Land use practices that determine what is grown in a particular place are partly determined by the health needs of a local population, but they are more directly shaped by economic markets.  Over 75% of the corn produced in the United States is destined for animal feed or fuel; since global population projections are now supposed to be 11 billion by 2100, these are some important issues for us to consider before we are forced to reassess our societal choices.    

Tagspodcast, political ecologyagriculture, food production, land use.

Rachael Johns's curator insight, October 24, 2014 10:17 AM

The corn we are growing is not helping world hunger but is making the world more unhealthy. Most the corn that we grow is either going to be used as sweeteners or as feed for cows. When we feed this to the cows it is literally killing the cows that WE eat.

Nolan Walters's curator insight, October 25, 2014 11:29 AM

Most of the corn is not even going to us. Most of it goes to the animals, who eat it (which is cheaper than grass), which fatten them up for slaughter for humans.  Corn also gets turned into Corn Syrup, which fattens us.  The Corn industry is mostly to fatten up animals for meat for us humans in MDCs. 

Alex Lewis's curator insight, October 30, 2014 12:46 PM

The fact that we could use this land to grow surplus edible food instead of corn that isn't edible and goes to feed obese and unhealthy cows is sickening. There are millions of people dying in Africa and other LDC's from starvation, but we use our farmland to grow inedible corn and overfeed cows to the point of death. The corn is used to feed animals, and the animals are then slaughtered months, weeks or even days before they would've died of overfeeding. 

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Brazil's ethanol revolution

"United Nations, June 2008 - The bio-fuel, ethanol, is generating a revolution in renewable energy that could help reduce the world's thirst for oil. In Brazil, the production of ethanol from sugarcane is booming, but what is not clear is the impact it is having on the industry's sugarcane cutters."  Transcript of video available here.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Although ethanol is working well for Brazil, there is a growing literature supporting the idea that wide-scale ethanol production is not sustainable or environmentally beneficial.  This is a great example to demonstrate that economic and environmental policies are locally dependent on geographic factors and are not universally transferable.  Click here for a simple explanation of the differences in the economic and environmental differences in the production of sugar and corn-based ethanol.  

Tagsenergy, resourcespolitical ecologyagriculture, food production, land use, Brazil, South America.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 1, 2015 6:16 AM

Ethanol is leading a bio-fuel revolution in Brazil. By any measure, the economy of Brazil has benefited from rise of Ethanol. This video is arguing that the Brazilian model may be transferable to other parts of the globe. I am somewhat skeptical of that claim. Many parts of the globe, do not have the rich abundance of resources nessacary to produce Ethanol. For years now, we continue to hear about the coming renewable energy revolution. This revolution has yet to come, and I have a feeling that it will probably never occur. The World is just to dependent on oil to turn back at this point. As Thomas Jefferson once said, " we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go". We are stuck in an impossible spot. The developing nations of the world especially can not turn back. China and India's economies would collapse without the use of oil.

Patty B's curator insight, November 10, 2015 5:19 PM


The 'ethanol revolution' occurring in Brazil is a critical topic to examine in terms of global geography. With it's ethanol export rising 70% as of 2007-08, and with an abundance of sugarcane, Brazil is now beginning to offer an alternative to tradition fuels (especially for cars). Brazil is exporting a great deal of ethanol which is stimulating its economy, but there is a negative side to this energy boom. It's causing a great deal of unemployment in Brazil due to the mechanization of the process of sugarcane cultivation. The effects of a country or region's main commodity always goes under this mechanization process, it just depends on when the need for that commodity arises (this kind of relates to "Guns, Germs, and Steel" and the idea of determinism).

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 7, 2015 1:01 PM
This sounds like something that people need to learn from, making fuel from sugar and alcohol. It is said that because of this Brazil is a world leader in in this sector. Doing so reduces emissions making a cleaner environment. This is future. .Doing things such as this and making machine mechanized cutters is good too, because now humans do not have to do it. When humans by hand get the sugar they have to burn plants, and burning plants pollutes the air because of the fire and the fire can cause severe destruction if it gets out of hand. With hand picking going out, it will be better overall. Delivering ethanol to the rest of the world is believed to lift the developing world out of poverty. .
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

EU debates biopiracy law to protect indigenous people

EU debates biopiracy law to protect indigenous people | Geography Education |
Pharmaceutical companies would need to compensate indigenous people for using their knowhow in creating new medicines
Seth Dixon's insight:

I'd never hear the term biopiracy before this month, but this idea is this: companies from wealthy countries commercially develop the genetic resources of developing countries with local assistance but don't fairly compensate the local population.  I never had the vocabulary to describe such a thing, but that is biopiracy in a nutshell and the EU is working to end that.  It doesn't only impact the pharmaceutical companies but heavily impact the agricultural industries as well.  Anyone in the developed world eating quinoa and kale 20 years ago?  Being marketed as 'superfoods' has changed the global production systems but also impacted local indigenous food supplies (some are referring to this as food gentrification). 

Tagsfood productiontechnology, industry, food, agriculture, agribusiness, globalization, folk cultures, indigenous.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, August 25, 2014 10:16 AM

new vocabulary for us all and unit 5!

MsPerry's curator insight, August 25, 2014 3:27 PM

APHG-Unit 4

Shawn Wright's curator insight, September 7, 2014 8:20 AM

The  Nagoya protocol is an international biological diversity convention. The protocol would at it's core require permission, acknowledgment of source knowledge  or practice and compensation for the use of cultural wisdom.

i don't see Nagoya as a perfect solution - there is a lot of room for language interpretation so slick corporate lawyers will find ways to legally cheat indigenous peoples from their share but I do see it as at least A small step in the right direction.   

The World Health Organisation estimates that 4 billion people, 80% of the world's population, use herbal medicine in primary healthcare. 

Cherokees Believe and have practiced healing from plant and water for thousands of years. Every and any human sickness has a plant who can cure it. Every plant in the world has a purpose if we but learn to hear and understand what that is - there are no weeds to the Cherokee.

Yona Shawn

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

The Last Drop: America's Breadbasket Faces Dire Water Crisis

The Last Drop: America's Breadbasket Faces Dire Water Crisis | Geography Education |
Editor's note: This story is one in a series on a crisis in America's Breadbasket –the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer and its effects on a region that hel...
Seth Dixon's insight:

This isn't new, but it is a new development that the media is covering the issue that has been going on for decades.  The Ogallala aquifer is the primary water source in an agricultural region  from Texas to Nebraska in dry, but agriculturally productive states.  The reason behind their agricultural success in the dry high plains is that more water is being extracted from the aquifer than is naturally being replenished.  This is the obvious result of a human-environmental interaction where the individual actors are incentivized to deplete a communal resource.      

Tags: agriculture, agribusinesswater, environment, resources

Linda Denty's curator insight, July 24, 2014 6:46 PM

Could this happen in Australia also?

Jamie Strickland's curator insight, July 25, 2014 10:46 AM

Thanks to my good friend, Seth Dixon for the original scoop.  There had been quite a bit of news reporting on the drought in central California this year, but this midwestern region has been experiencing water stress for years with little national attention.  I plan to use this article in both an upcoming presentation as well as an example when I teach "Tragedy of the Commons" in my Environmental Dilemma class.

Kate Buckland's curator insight, July 26, 2014 10:32 PM

Good to compare to how we use water resources in Australia

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

40 maps that explain food in America

40 maps that explain food in America | Geography Education |

"The future of the nations will depend on the manner of how they feed themselves, wrote the French epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in 1826. Almost 200 years later, how nations feed themselves has gotten a lot more complicated. That’s particularly true in the US, where food insecurity coexists with an obesity crisis, where fast food is everywhere and farmer’s markets are spreading, where foodies have never had more power and McDonald’s has never had more locations, and where the possibility of a barbecue-based civil war is always near. So here are 40 maps, charts, and graphs that show where our food comes from and how we eat it, with some drinking thrown in for good measure."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Occasionally these lists that say something like "40 maps that..." end up being an odd assortment of trivia that is interesting but not very instructive.  Not so with this list that has carefully curated these maps and graphs in a sequential order that will enrich students' understanding of food production and consumption in the United States.  Additionally, here are some maps and chart to understand agriculture and food in Canada

Tags: agriculture, food production, food distribution, locavore, agribusiness, USA

Stuart Shapiro's curator insight, June 25, 2014 8:41 AM

With some drinking thrown in for good measure."

Treathyl Fox's curator insight, June 26, 2014 12:26 PM

WOW!  Talk about contrast and compare.  So now is contrast, compare and ... uh? ... conquer??  From farming and enjoying the harvest - which could be interpreted as healthy eating back in the day - TO sugary sweet soda pops and fatty burgers - which some might be calling junk food, convenience food, fast food, comfort food you don't have to cook yourself, the cause of obesity, a politician's guide to a potential source of additional revenue from taxes, etc.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 22, 2014 2:16 PM

With more people than ever living in cities and less people than ever working on farms, the future of our food is in question. The riskiness, labor, low gain,  and negative stereotypes of farmers combined with the fear of food conglomerates has led to a depletion of smaller scale farmers. Brain drain in rural farming areas is depleting the number of younger people willing to work in agriculture. With most of our food production being controlled and overseen by large corporations, people are now questioning the quality of our foods. Recently, the local food movement is educating people on the importance of food produced with integrity and supporting  local businesses.