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Geography of Quinoa

Geography of Quinoa | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"The popularity of Quinoa has grown exponentially among the health-conscious food consumers in the developed economies of the world.  Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is rich in protein and is a better grain for those seeking to lose weight.  Quinoa has historically be rather limited but this diffusion is restructuring the geographic patterns of many places." 


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I have tried Quinoa, and thought that it was satisfactory, but I do not feel that it is worth importing to the US, given the negative effects that were mentioned in the article, such as harm to the poor, and malnutritioning the natives of Bolivia.  While it might be making money for the Bolivians (well, some of them), it is something that is damaging the soil as well... As the Bolivians plant and harvest this crop for purposes of exporting, the over-abundance of their agricultural efforts is harming the land, making it less fertile for people to grow Quinoa and other crops in.  I can see why the immediate desire to produce this crop arises, and it is logical, because little else will thrive in the Bolivian environment, but after examining the lasting impact, I would have to say that it reminds me of consumption of fossil fuels as a primary energy resource in first world countries today.  Using something that will only be available for a short time, and something that harms the environment and Earth, does not seem like something that we humans should get involved in, especially in such a day and age where the ignorance card cannot be played, and other excuses for us to continue with bad habits are dwindling away.  I look forward to the colonization of other worlds, but hope that by then we have perfected our methods instead of harming the environment in capitalistic rat races.

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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 14, 11:42 AM

With health nuts discovering Quinoa the demand for this protein packed weight loss grain is quickly increasing throughout the world it is hard to keep up with supply.  Quinoa is typically grown in the Andes Mountains, limiting the area of which it can be grown.  The increase in demand for this superfood is also affecting the locals who used this as an item in their daily meals.  With production down and demand up the price is on the rise, even for those locals who had enjoyed this grain for relatively cheap for a good amount of time. 

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 4, 2:20 PM

Quinoa has a seen an explosion of popularity on international markets due to its healthy nature, simple preparation, and culinary versatility. While its increased trade has helped bring more money to the farmers and the region, it has also made the price of quinoa too high for many of the locals. To limit the availability of such a staple food to the locals could have many detrimental effects. It shows how expanding into the global arena can have good economic effect for some, it can still undermine other parts of the already established economy.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 13, 12:15 PM

Quinoa has gone from a traditional food only consumed by those living in the Andes Mountains to a global phenomenon. Historically, Quinoa was consumed by locals in the Andes Mountains in order to supplement their diet. Recently, it has developed a reputation as a super food, with people claiming that it can help lose weight and has tremendous health benefits. While this may be true, food fads such as this have the potential to greatly affect the historic growers. Since its boom on the global market, Quinoa has become incredibly expensive. The people that once depended on it for sustenance can no longer afford it, thus leading to economic and food issues in these localities. It is important to understand that these exotic, popular foods can maim entire ways of life where the foods were once just foods, and not super foods. 

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Geography in the News: Pumpkins

Geography in the News: Pumpkins | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner and pumpkins are already showing up at roadside stands. Jack o’lanterns, decorative displays and pumpkin pies are the main destinies of most pumpkins in the United States. Elsewhere in the world, however, the pumpkin is nearly exclusively considered a food crop or animal feed."


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I have been a long-time fan of pumpkin coffee, and tomorrow I will probably have some with my cousins and family... Some areas of Asia allow consumption of dogs, other areas of the US allow consumption of roadkill, and that is different from what most people in RI are used to... So I guess, it's not really my business what other people and countries do with their pumpkin crops, as long as it doesn't negatively affect other people.  My neighbor has won some prizes, I think 3rd place in RI for largest pumpkin contests, which is pretty cool, because for several months, you can see their pumpkin garden from my backyard.  Those pumpkins are enormous, and made me wonder if there was anything being done to make the modified pumpkins more usable in food.  I know GMOs are a touchy issue, but to feed the starving people around the world, you have to wonder if one pumpkin at 2000 lbs could feed a village of people.  Lots of people that don't like GMOs probably do unhealthy things in other ways, so their huge activism movements really boggle me.  Labeling GMOs is one thing, but stopping genetic modifications seems as controversial as starting them, especially when some people can benefit from them.  Whatever, I guess pumpkins are cool for whatever people want to do with them, including smashing them... this week on RIC's campus I saw a smashed pumpkin.  The only thing that really popped into my head was not "what a waste," or "oh, those delinquents," but rather "that seems fun."  I did assume though, that no one was hurt by the smashing of the pumpkin...

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Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 21, 2013 9:02 AM

Every year it is expected around halloween that my family and friends will carve pumpkins. Then around chrstmas time it is expected that we will get our christmas tree to decorate. This is something lots of people do around this time. However what I never really linked together was that I was thinking about the geography of things by doing this. I know it is part of our culture and most people do it because it was a tradition. However what I never really thought about was where these pumpkins or christmas trees actually came from. There is a process that farmers have to go through to produce pumkins and pine trees, a process we probably don't even think about because we are so used to having these things around the holidays. When we think of pumpkins we thing of Jack-o-laters and pumkin pies, but to some people pumpkins are considered a crop and food source. We may not see it that way because our culture uses them around Halloween and for processed canned pumpkin for cooking. However not all cultures are like that, which is interesting to think about. Something that is considered seasonal in our culture might be an everyday crop for another culture. It is interesting to see how different places in the wolrd use such things as pumpkin so much different that we do in our culture.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, March 19, 5:14 PM

Although you wouldn't think it there are many different countries and specific regions that demonstrate the perfect cropping land and fertilization process to grow pumpkins. Out of the US power house pumpkin growing Illinois is named number 1. Along side California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvainnia, Mississippi. But lets travel abroad to Africa, now me personally I wouldnt think that there are alot of pumpkin patches in Africa but there are many different places in Africa that pumpkins are grown. SOme of these places are Egypt with (690,000) and then there is South Africa with (378,776). I found these numbers quite interesting because one wouldn't think that there are pumpkin patches in Africa.

Pamela Shields's curator insight, August 29, 10:10 AM

@Danyl †  so inspirational!

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Maple Syrup Time

Maple Syrup Time | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I actually made maple syrup about a year ago, a couple of roads away from my house.  I know a family that makes it every year, and I was invited to come join them harvesting the syrup.  I had done it there many years ago, but I had a blast.  The father of a guy I went to school with was there boiling the sap, and we had a lot of interesting discussions about the process, including the importance of the climate.  Apparently, if I remember correctly, it is vital to have the freezing temperatures, followed by warm days- which is also mentioned in the article.  He said that gets the "blood" of the tree pumping, and greatly increases the syrup production.  I got to taste the sap as it was being boiled down to concentrated levels, and it was amazing.  I think that using natural resources like that is really cool.  I had a great time, and know that it takes a LOT of sap to make very LITTLE syrup, but it can be totally worth it. I enjoyed gardening when my family had a garden, and I think that that sort of natural harvest and refinement for consumption can be immensely entertaining, as well as rewarding.  I know this family usually makes enough for themselves, and that they give a little away, and end up having enough to get through the year.  It is a really enjoyable activity, and I reccommend it to anyone that doesn't mind getting cold outside or covered in tree sap.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 7, 2013 10:45 PM

March and April are key months for harvesting sap from trees, making this sugar time in New England.  New England's climate and biogeography make this the right time because the because the combination of freezing nights and warm spring days gets the sap in the native species of maple trees to flow.  The sap get boiled down to syrup, but did you know that it takes roughly 40 gallons of sap that to get 1 gallon of pure maple syrup?  

Louis Culotta's comment, April 8, 2013 11:45 AM
this is cool. A friend of mine bought all the equipment and is making it in the woods in his backyard up in Cumberland.
Mary Burke's comment, April 12, 2013 3:53 PM
When I get pancakes at a restaurant I always ask for real maple syrup. They charge more but its worth it. I venture to say that the Canadian maple syrup subsidies might have something to do with less syrup production around here and also might be why syrup so expensive.
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Food Machine

Food Machine | Matt's Geography Portfolio | 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%." 


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

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

This is a great video covering our industrial agricultural complex

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What You Need to Know About Genetically Engineered Food

What You Need to Know About Genetically Engineered Food | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
Myths and facts about health, corruption, and saving the world

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


Via Seth Dixon, Gregory S Sankey Jr.
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

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.

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David Ricci's comment, April 16, 2013 10:28 AM
As i read this article I tried to keep an open mind and not choose a side. I wanted to take all of the information presented to see the pros and cons that are related to GE foods. After finishing my reading it seems to me that the debate revolves around whether or not these crops and foods are bad for you. If they are bad, then do the pros outway the cons? I can say that after reading the article I dont feel much more educated on the topic. There seems to be a large grey area covering GE crops. The only people who know the full extent of these projects are the people in charge and the government. With the information that i have gained today though, i can say that GE crops have the potential to be extremely benefitial aroud the world. Many places that have trouble growing crops can use GE crops that withstand bugs and even climate. These benefits can help with cost minimalization in areas that need it, potentially creating better and more farming in areas around the world that need it. GE crops if regulated properly can atleast for a time have a global effect on food and agriculture. A jump in production of crops can help economies and help the general wellbeing of countries that have trouble producing even close to the right amount of food for the people living there.
Zakary Pereira's comment, April 30, 2013 4:04 PM
An interesting article to read, it talked about the genetically modified seeds and food that is created by companies and then grown by American and other farmers worldwide. This article relates to the globalization point that we talked about in class. The seeds are genetically modified here or elsewhere in the world and then sent to farmers all over the globe to grow for increased profit typically. Many countries around the world, especially third world countries, have food shortages and by genetically modifying food so that farmers can get a bigger harvest, more people will be fed and less would die to famine and malnutrition. Like David, I tried to keep an open mind and not choose a side while I was reading. The article did seem quite vague regarding argument points however it gave facts left and right which I found to be new to me and fairly interesting, learning that 70% of food that we eat has at least one GE ingredient. Time will tell if this has prolonged pros/cons I suppose.
Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, October 24, 2013 1:41 PM

I love the hard facts that this article presents, in a very unbiased way. I've heard many claims from 'both sides of the aisle' about GE crops, but have never in one article seen such a clear and concise representation on the actual truths (or myths) surrounding the GMO debate.  

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Jamaica Focuses on Farming

Jamaica Focuses on Farming | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"The country has taken on a bold new strategy in the face of expensive food imports: make farming patriotic and ubiquitous."


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I have discussed Jamaica with some former classmates of mine, and they informed me that a lot of people are really poor there.  They said that the people there were very friendly, and hooked my friends up with some outstanding agricultural products at a really good price, but these people are very poor.  I think that because Jamaica was involved in the slave trade, and they didn't really as much of have slaves to do work like the US, but Jamaica was still involved in the slave trade, which ensured the presence of slaves.  While the US was building as a country, Jamaica was not thriving as much.  I think that the agriculture in Jamaica is (by what my friends say) fabulous as far as illegal crops go, but the agriculture FOR the Jamaicans (such as food) is lacking.  I read in the article that a European Development Agency sent money to Jamaica to help them be able to build chicken coops... So the chickens are enslaved too, and doomed to lay eggs or become a Sunday dinner.  That is kind of sad.  In all truth, I enjoy the taste of meat, but look forward to when meat and plants will be synthesized with no living tissue involved, because, after all, plants are alive too.  There are so many things that people have taken from the Earth, without giving anything back.  We are approaching the era where people should be more concerned with the environment, and what they can do for the Earth.  I think Jamaica should be given new technology that serves synthetic meat and synthetic vegetables, as a way to aid their agricultural and economic situation, rather than money for chicken coops from some pompous European cults.

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, September 25, 2013 11:35 PM

After the British took control of Jamaica from the Spanish, it became one of the largest sugar exporting colony of the new world.  It also had one of the largest slave populations to support that sugar plantation industry.  Sugar crops destroy the soil which makes it harder to grow other crops.  i also think that had alot to do with Jamaica having to always import alot of its foodstuffs.  Now that the sugar planting, through technology, is not as destructive and the fact that it isnt as intensvie as it use to be, the soil has recovered in some sense allowing for different crops to be grown.  This will in turn can lead to a more stable economy in the area as a large part of the country's GDP will not have to go to buying imported food as they will now be able to provide their own foodstuffs.  Moving form a one crop, especially a cash crop, to multiple different crops will just better the outlook of this country's growth.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, February 8, 1:53 PM

The article describes how Jamaica and a couple other Caribbean nations are beginning to focus more on food crops than cash crops. Being dependent on imports for food can be disastrous for these islands when a global food shortage makes prices skyrocket. Being food independent will likely allow Jamaica to increase its net agricultural gains so long as the production and demand for its cash crops of bananas and sugarcane remain high.

 

Jess Deady's curator insight, February 18, 12:56 PM

Understanding how other countries survive their everyday lives is an important part of being a civil human being. As shown in one of the clips, a boy is putting on a tie before school and is on his way to eat breakfast. Not only does he have to eat breakfast at home, but he also is eating a stew that he picked the crops for. I could never imagine picking my own food in order to survive life. This scoop is enlightening in many ways.

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Japan's Geographic Challenge

Stratfor examines Japan's primary geographic challenge of sustaining its large population with little arable land and few natural resources. For more analysi...

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

It would make sense to me that for a place like Japan to sustain itself successfully, it would have to have some help from other areas with more resources.  Again with the concept- people don't choose to be born, or where they are born... To be born in Japan is as unchosen by that person as it would be in any other country.  I don't think people should have to pay for resources that they do not have available, especially because they are on an island/island chain that simply doesn't have what they need.  I am really repulsed by the bartering system because of absolute indication of beyond excessive surplus and profit and greed and all that garbage that humanity reeks of.  Yeah some people are happy, but we could be completely unburdened of all negativity if we banded together to rid the world of negativity itself.  I know that Japan would be happy to receive everything that they need for no cost, but I also know that many people would be willing to work, and more willing to work, if they didn't have expenses to pay for... it would really be serving their life's purpose as a component of humankind if they worked to help others, rather than to pay their monthly rent.  I don't have a clue how I would go about organizing a movement to transform this idea into a reality, but I'll work on that.  In the mean time, I would advise supranationalism for Japan, and hope that with the alliance of other countries, they can band together and make deals that work for the greater good of their country, population, and the world.

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David Ricci's comment, April 30, 2013 9:47 AM
Japan clearly has their job cut out for them due to the geography of the country. Thier land has very limited airable land making agriculture extremely hard to maintain. The mountainous terrain also makes travel much harder for these people. Because of this their population like stated in the video has been pushed to hotspots like the yamato region. Japan has developed their culture solely based on how disconnected they are from the rest of the world. Japan is a chain of many islands so they have to import alot of their goods. This means having good trade partners, always making new trade partners, and avoiding conflict. This didnt work so well looking back at world war II. Unfortunately they must either become more self sufficient like chris said, or they have to stay on the good sides of alot of other countries.
Kevin Cournoyer's comment, May 1, 2013 12:51 AM
Unlike other larger, more geographically diverse countries, Japan is faced with the problem of a general lack of farmable land and natural resources. The fact that the country is itself an island does not make things any easier for it in an economic sense. The way the country is divided up also makes for a difficult political situation, as mountain ranges create division, and therefore, political disunity.
The proximity of the Korean peninsula and China to Japan is also important to examine. Whenever Japan wishes to acquire natural resources and other economically beneficial materials, Korea is the conduit through which Japan tends to invade the mainland, usually China. Because of this, we can see how Japan’s geographic location may cause strained relationships with its neighbors, both politically and economically. Alienating two of its closest neighbors would clearly be a disastrous move for Japan, but it may be seen as necessary due to its unfortunate geographic location.
Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, April 10, 10:58 AM

This short video did a great job in explaining why Japan became expansionist in the decades leading up to WW II.  The mountainous nature of the islands and lack of arable land challenges Japan to provide food for its people.  To understand Japan you must understand her geography, this helps to understand why a country acted the way it did in the past and can be a predictor of future actions.