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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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David Lizotte's curator insight, February 9, 5:51 PM

This article was short so I clicked on the link that directed me to an Al Jazeera article, which went more in depth in this issue. My scoop reflects information gained from both articles. 

It is nice to see the world taking notice of such a nutritionally rich grain, that being quinoa. The world has many poor regions that in turn produce malnourished people, the production of quinoa on a global scale seems to benefit many. Yet, on a local more personal level there are people suffering from the demand/price boom. 

Local Bolivian residents, mostly surrounding the quinoa production regions (Andes) are suffering from the rising price of Quinoa. I find this to be outrageous. Regions can provide enough quinoa for the world yet overlook the sales of residents, whom have been valuing quinoa for generations upon generations. Now there are many whom cant afford it. 

The mass consumption of quinoa has now created mass production of the crop. This in turn is affecting the Nitrogen level of soil in certain regions, creating rifts amongst landowners (land owned due to native beliefs), and neglect of certain business men in regards to there native lands. The industry is changing the landscape and affecting the culture of rural regions as a whole. 

In response to the increased malnourishment of Bolivian citizens throughout the nation the government has issued a law declaring the children and pregnant woman being issued quinoa on a regular basis. This in turn provides nourishment these people need on a daily schedule. This is good progress however it doesn't pertain to the nation as a whole and also it only benefits the people receiving the quinoa for a period of time (end of pregnancy, older age/no longer a child). If Boliva wants to take part in global distribution of this crop it needs to tend to its own borders and secure a stable environment amongst its population. Its producing a product that battles malnourishment, no need for an immense population of people being malnourished throughout the general area. Very ironic. 

 

Jason Schneider's curator insight, February 9, 10:10 PM

Quinoa appears to be originated as grain crop for edible seeds in parts of Bolivia, Argentina, Peru and along to Andes Mountain. However, they increase the crop value as it spreads to other areas of the world such as Europe and United States. One thing that I wonder is that if the production is going to be popular in any region other than South America but manufacturing regions started on eastern United States and they spread overseas to Europe. I wonder if production of Quinoa will spread to other continents. Believe it or not, it has partially spread to small parts of southwestern Europe.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 3:20 PM

Quinoa will be a staple for generations to come and the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina would do well to provide all the assistance to the farming community in their respective countries. This product is like New Age rice, it provides multiple benefits to health conscious consumers such as protein, fiber, and a "full" feeling when consumed. Any recipe that calls for a rice base can incorporate Quinoa just as easily and it tastes great. being a bit of a health freak, I use Quinoa in my diet and it works.

While the success of the grain has made it less accessible price-wise to those who grow it, it should provide for a greater economic benefit for years to come, lifting a population from near poverty levels to hopefully one of a strong and vibrant middle class.

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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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Where Does the South Begin?

Where Does the South Begin? | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
Roads? Religion? Accent? Food? Which factor dictates where the North ends?

 

This is a great intellectual expercise to help student think about regions and how we define them.  The article can help also inform some of their thinking since one of the main problems for students in drawing regional boundaries is a lack of place-based knowledge.   

 

Tags: regions, USA.


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

Borders... the first thing I think of was a giant bookstore near my hometown... it now ceases to exist, having been replaced by Barnes and Nobel...  As for the political organization of space, I could apply this situation and laugh.  Borders will cease to be, and they will be called after people's last names!  I think this has already happened, when people unite together in countries such as the USA- although borders are specific, the general federal laws and many policies still apply in all states... generally. And people's names are often the namesakes of places.  I don't like the idea of borders, though, it seems like a bunch of warmongers trying to get ahead in a world where they can't truly cheat death, so they cheat other people of land that may have been decreed in ancient documents as property of their ancestors, or even in accordance with the righteousness of the universe and what should be alloted to whom.  Ownership is a concept of denial, because no one can truly own anything, not even our bodies, which contain trillions of infinite universes the size of the large one around us that we commonly refer to.  Borders are relative, and will likely become recognized as obsolete.  I know this was abstract, but it's my thoughts on the topic.

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