Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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At Seattle Mariners games, grasshoppers are a favorite snack

At Seattle Mariners games, grasshoppers are a favorite snack | Geography Education |

"Chapulines [grasshoppers] have become a snack favorite among baseball fans in Seattle. Follow their path from Oaxaca, Mexico, to Safeco Field. To many, the insect might be a novelty - a quirky highlight for an Instagram story from a day at the ballpark. To those in Mexico consuming them for centuries, they are a building block of nutrition."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Eating insects is incredibly nutritious; raising them is cost effective and environmentally sustainable. And yet, the cultural taboos against entomophagy in the West are barriers to the cultural diffusion of the practice.  At some baseball games and high-end restaurants, grasshoppers are sold as a novelty item.  What I especially enjoy about this ESPN article is that it covers the cultural production of the chapulines in Mexico and follows the story to the consumption of the grasshoppers in the United States.  


Tags: sport, popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms, foodMexico, economic, agriculture.

ricoh's comment, June 13, 6:34 AM
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Robots can pick strawberries. Now what?

Robots can pick strawberries. Now what? | Geography Education |

"The robots have arrived. And they’ll be picking crops in Florida fields soon. Robots can do things humans can’t. They can pick all through the night. They can measure weight better. They can pack boxes more efficiently. They don’t take sick days, they don’t have visa problems.

Google 'are robots taking our jobs?' and you get millions of theories: Robots will take over most jobs within 30 years; yes, but it’s a good thing; yes, but they will create jobs, too; chill out, they won’t take them all. Truckers, surgeons, accountants and journalists have all been theoretically replaced by prognosticators.

But harvesting specialty crops is different: Plants vary in shape and size and determining ripeness is complex — experts have said there are too many variables for robots. Until now."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Many industries have been, and will continue to be transformed by automation and robotics.  There is a great amount of uncertainty and anxiety in the labor pools as workers see many low skill jobs are being outsourced and other jobs are being automated.  Some economic organizations are preparing resources for workers to strengthen their skills for the era of automation. 


Questions to Ponder: How will a machine like this transform the agricultural business? How might it impact migration, food prices, or food waste?


Tags: economic, laboragribusiness, industry, food production, agriculture.

Jane Ellingson's curator insight, December 18, 2017 9:05 AM
Structural Changes in the economy.
Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, February 19, 1:46 PM
Where will this lead us in terms of population, economics, and agriculture?
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How Does it Grow? Garlic

Telling the stories of our food from field to fork.
Episode Two: Peeling back the layers of nature's most powerful superfood.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This 5-minute video is a good introduction to garlic, it's production, environmental requirements, nutritional profile and diffusion.  Historically, garlic was far more important than I ever imagined.  The geography of food goes far beyond the kitchen and there are many more episodes in the "How Does it Grow?" series to show that.


Tags: foodeconomicfood production, agribusiness, industryvideo, agriculture.

Edward Russell's curator insight, September 12, 2017 5:15 AM
interesting little video
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The real reason Amazon buying Whole Foods terrifies the competition

The real reason Amazon buying Whole Foods terrifies the competition | Geography Education |
Amazon’s zero-profit strategy is a disaster for anyone who goes up against it.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I have more questions than definitive answers, so let's get right to it. 


Questions to Ponder: How have technological and logistical shifts in various industries made this once unthinkable union workable?  How will a retailer like Amazon change the food industry on the production side of the equation? What are the advantages and disadvantages of creative destruction (eliminating old jobs by creating new ones)?  Who stands to benefit the most, and who are the most negatively impacted?    


Tagsindustry, economic, scale, agriculture, food production, agribusiness, food

Mr Mac's curator insight, June 22, 2017 9:35 AM
Unit 5 - Commercial Agriculture, Agribusiness, Food Distribution; Unit 6 - Services, Distribution of Services, Service and Technology
mouthpaptops's comment, June 24, 2017 2:34 AM
charlytap's comment, June 30, 2017 1:29 AM
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Venezuela Is Starving

Venezuela Is Starving | Geography Education |
Once Latin America’s richest country, Venezuela can no longer feed its people, hobbled by the nationalization of farms as well as price and currency controls. The resulting hunger and malnutrition are an unfolding tragedy.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Widespread famines are very rare in democracies and are much more prevalent in authoritarian regimes.  This is because food production is but a small part of a larger picture; the system of food production and distribution in Venezuela has been decimated by the nationalization of private farms.  Individual farmers can’t make a profit in the new political economy and consequently are going to stop producing for the market.  This vicious cycle is political in nature more so than in is agricultural. 


Tags: food, poverty, Venezuela, South America, economic, political, governance, agriculture, food production.

Ms. Amanda Fairchild's curator insight, October 16, 2017 1:27 PM
Seth Dixon's insight: Widespread famines are very rare in democracies and are much more prevalent in authoritarian regimes. This is because food production is but a small part of a larger picture; the system of food production and distribution in Venezuela has been decimated by the nationalization of private farms. Individual farmers can’t make a profit in the new political economy and consequently are going to stop producing for the market. This vicious cycle is political in nature more so than in is agricultural.
Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, February 9, 10:46 PM
(South America) It's depressing to see the dramatic turn of events in Venezuela's political and economic climate in recent decades, coming from the richest country in Latin America to the country with the world's highest inflation rates and number two on country murder rating. This causes increased levels of crime, stealing and looting food for families to survive. The Venezuelan government has refused foreign aid and yet cannot find a solution to fixing the lack of food, healthcare, and medicine. This problem affects several South American countries and always poses a threat of travelling across borders. We tend to think of the Western World as more enlightened yet just south of the US we find authoritarian countries with the highest crime rates in the world, starving its own people.
Katie Kershaw's curator insight, February 15, 2:05 PM
Sometimes the world seems like a really hopeless place and this article definetly supports that train of thought.  Venezuela only a few years ago produced enough food to feed themselves and actually had enough surplus that they were able to export.  What they couldn’t grow they would import.  The food shortage that the country is facing is not an agriculture problem in the sense that the land is incapable of producing food or shipping routes have been compromised, but a problem with how the government started running the system.  As one farmer said, “‘The system is created so you can’t win.’”  The government took ownership of many large farms and fertilizer and feed production.  Those groups have barely been producing anything and causes the entire agricultural community to suffer and Venezuelans to starve.  Another problem that is making the situation in Venezuela even worse is that the economy collapsed and inflation is rampant.  The value of currency is so low that people cannot even afford the scarce food available.  There are few employment opportunities, making finances even more strained.  But perhaps the most upsetting part is that children are literally starving to death and there is nothing hospitals can do to stop these deaths because they themselves do not have the resources.  The combination of an economy in shambles and a botched agricultural system have left Venezuelans in turmoil with little government effort to help.  The government is not only not providing help, but they are literally refusing aid from foreign governments who have offered.  Geographically, Venezuela is located in an area with sufficient farm land and large reserves of oil, so they shouldn’t be struggling.  But people have the ability to ruin or ignore what nature has provided them and that is why Venezuelans are withering away.
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Entomophagy: Bugs in the system

Entomophagy: Bugs in the system | Geography Education |
IT WOULD once have been scandalous to suggest the merits of eating insects; these days, it has become old hat. Western-educated entrepreneurs will sell you protein bars made from cricket flour. TED talks extol entomophagy's virtue. Top-end restaurants in the West's largest cities tout insect-based dishes.
Seth Dixon's insight:

While it might make economic, nutritional, and environmental sense, I'm sure that many are squeamish at the idea of insects primarily because in violates many deeply ingrained cultural taboos.  The main reasons listed in the video for promoting the production and consumption of more insects:

  1. Insects are healthier than meat.
  2. It is cheap (or free) to raise insects.
  3. Raising insects is more sustainable than livestock.


Questions to Ponder: Would you be willing to try eating insects?  How do you think this idea would go over with your family and friends?  What cultural barriers might slow the diffusion of this practice?    


Tagsfoodculturediffusion, economic, agriculture.

Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, February 19, 1:48 PM
What is your take on this?  What are the positives?  Negatives?
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The Final Days Of Hawaiian Sugar

The Final Days Of Hawaiian Sugar | Geography Education |
The sugar industry in Hawaii dominated the state's economy for over a century. But it has shrunk in recent years. Now, the last of the state's sugar mills has wrapped up its final harvest.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I grew up hearing commercials that sold the purity of the Hawaiian sugar Industry (C & H, Pure Sugar, that's the one!).  These commercials sold not just the purity of Hawaii's sugar, but also of the people and the place.  These commercials were some of my first geographic imaginings of an exotic tropical paradise on the peripheral edge of the United States.  Just like the imagined tropical bliss, the actual sugar industry of Hawaii is also coming to an end.  "For over a century, the sugar industry dominated Hawaii's economy. But that changed in recent decades as the industry struggled to keep up with the mechanization in mills on mainland U.S. That and rising labor costs have caused Hawaii's sugar mills to shut down, shrinking the industry to this one last mill."   


Tags: industrymanufacturinglabor, economic, agribusiness, agriculture.

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Factory farming practices are under scrutiny again in N.C. after disastrous hurricane floods

Factory farming practices are under scrutiny again in N.C. after disastrous hurricane floods | Geography Education |
As fecal waste and bacteria flow from hog lagoons into the water supply, North Carolina is revisiting a contentious battle between the pork industry, health experts and environmentalists.


In regions where hog farm density is high, there is an overall poor sanitary quality of surface waters. The presence of mass-scale swine and poultry lots and processing plants in a sandy floodplain – a region once dotted by small tobacco farms – has long posed a difficult dilemma for a state where swine and poultry represent billions of dollars a year for the economy. [Past] hurricane’s environmental impact in North Carolina were so severe in part because of the large number of hog lagoon breaches. Following Hurricane Matthew, the department has counted 10 to 12 lagoons that were inundated, with floodwaters topping the berms and spreading diluted waste.


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

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Mekong Delta fights losing battle against salt water

Vietnam's rice region is facing the worst drought to date. Over half a million people have been affected, and the country could lose one million tons of its staple food.Leaders of six countries along the Mekong River met in China to discuss the relief measures.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Economic progress for some often entails job loss and environmental degradation for others.  As dams upstream are slowing the flow of the Mekong River, the low-lying delta that is a rich agricultural region is facing the ocean water that is moving further inland.  The once isolated and remote Mekong is experiencing some impacts of globalization. 


Tags: fluvial, waterVietnamagriculture, SouthEastAsia.

Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 20, 1:18 PM
The location of the pristine rice growing lands on the Mekong delta have also put that very land at risk for destruction. The slow of the flow of water from upstream has allowed saltwater to permeate inland and destroy enormous swaths of land by making them impossible to grow rice due to the salt. For a country like Vietnam that is so heavily dependent on rice exports in a globalized economy, this loss of production could prove to be devastating. 
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Why the US government wants Americans to eat more cheese

Why the US government wants Americans to eat more cheese | Geography Education |
The USDA said today that it will buy $20 million worth of cheese to donate to food banks and pantries in an effort to help America's struggling dairy producers.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Do politics, economics, and government policies help to shape agriculture patterns?  Absolutely.  This is an interesting, current example that shows how Chinese and Russian policies are impacting American dairy producers, and how the U.S. government is stepping in. 


Questions to Ponder:  Should the U.S. government protect businesses that are in dire straits?  What would happen if the government did not offer agricultural subsidies/bailouts?  What will happen (or not happen) because of these subsidies/bailouts?  Any way you slice it, 11 million tons is a lot of cheddar.     


Tags: agriculture, food production, economicfood, agribusiness,

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Stop opposing GMOs, Nobel laureates say

Stop opposing GMOs, Nobel laureates say | Geography Education |
It's the latest sign of a rift between the scientific establishment and anti-GMO activists.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Environmental activists are often frustrated when climate change skeptics do not listen to the scientific consensus that the Earth's climate has changed because of humanity's collective actions.  On the flip side, some environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace, ignore the overwhelming scientific consensus that GMOs are safe for human consumption.  Both have been highly politicized and tap into larger narratives that confirm particular world views.  Most of the opposition to GMOs is not because of the information that is out there, but the fear of the unknown that GMOs illicit.  


Tags: GMOs, technology, agriculture, agribusiness.  

Marc Meynardi's curator insight, July 2, 2016 3:42 AM
And then ? Should everyone blindly accept what scientists have discovered ? No opposition for nothing ? This is the end of the humanity if we do so Mr Nobel Laureate.
Ashley Kelley's curator insight, October 24, 2017 9:41 AM
Achenbach, Joel. “107 Nobel Laureates Sign Letter Blasting Greenpeace Over GMOs.” The Washington Post, 30 June 2016, Accessed 19 Oct. 2017. 
This news article was written in favor of GMOs. The target audience are consumers questioning the safety of GMOs. The article states that a group of Noble laureates are upset with Greenpeace for making false statements about GMOs and attempting to stop a new type of rice with increased vitamin-A levels from being marketed. The Noble laureates stressed that GMOs have not been found to be unsafe. The author discusses the fact that GMO crops are not riskier than other forms of breeding and cut down on the use of pesticides, which are dangerous. The author of this article appears to be supportive of the use of GMOs, but also touched on the opinions of the opponents of GMOs, which have been disproved by science.
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Where our food came from

Where our food came from | Geography Education |

"Explore the geographic origins of our food crops – where they were initially domesticated and evolved over time – and discover how important these 'primary regions of diversity' are to our current diets and agricultural production areas."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an incredibly rich website with great interactive maps, dynamic charts, and text with rich citations.  This is one of those resources that an entire class could use as a starting point to create 30+ distinct project.  This is definitely one of the most important and best resources that I've shared recently, one that I'm going to use in my class.  Where did a particular crop originally come from?  Where is it produced today?   How do these historic and current agricultural geographies change local diets and economies around the world?  All these issues can be explored with this interactive that includes, but goes beyond the Columbian Exchange


Tags: foodeconomicfood production, agribusiness, agriculture, APHG, unit 5 agriculture, globalizationbiogeography, ecology, diffusion.

Sally Egan's curator insight, June 16, 2016 6:43 PM

Great interactive map to illustrate the source regions of the world and foods that originated there. Hover over each region and the foods of that area popup.

Rory McPherson's curator insight, July 3, 2016 5:39 PM

Very informative! It's great to learn where our food comes from. The author is able to communicate this information through simple but effective maps and visualizations.

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India to 'divert rivers' to tackle drought

India to 'divert rivers' to tackle drought | Geography Education |
India is to divert water from major rivers like the Brahmaputra and the Ganges to deal with severe drought, a senior minister tells the BBC.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The drought has been bad enough that (coupled with rising debt to seed companies) many farmers are committing suicide to escape the financial pain of this drought.   The monsoon rains can be lethal, but critical for the rural livelihoods of farmers and the food supply.


TagsIndia, agriculture, labor, agriculture, South Asia, physical, weather and climate.



Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 22, 1:07 PM
As everyone knows, water is key. We usually talk about water in geography has a way to export/import or for key military purposes. Here we are talking about survival and certain states within in India (29 to be exact) that were suffering through a drought and whose rivers had been completely dried up. India has tried a new plan to try to get water to these areas, by diverting water from there other rivers to these states. This is an interesting way to try to deal with this problem, however is it really feasible to do this?  Would this eventually causes problems in the areas in which we are taking the water from? Also this would be very expensive and India , who is still a growing country,  could hurt them economically for years to come. No one has said this will work and while yes, its horrible to see what has happen to these areas, but is this just a quick fix. What would the plan be for a future drought, is there anyway to come up with a better plan? Possibly will these people need to move in the future. Our rivers and lands are constantly changing so as people we might have to move away from areas that which were once habitable, but now may not be. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 23, 12:26 PM
Extreme drought combined with inefficient agricultural practices and the depletion of groundwater resources have creates a water crisis in India. However the solution to the drought seems poorly planned and likely to fail. There is no evidence showing that a massive water diversion project like this will succeed in alleviating the effects of such a massive drought. 
brielle blais's curator insight, May 1, 6:45 PM
Drought is a factor of the physical geography of an area that is in trouble. India is heavily depended on monsoon rains, and for two years have no received what they normally do, and 330 million people are affected by it. The country is planning to divert different rivers to solve the issue. "The government says the scheme will irrigate 35,000 hectares of land and generate 34,000 megawatts of electricity." This will exponentially help those dealing with the water crisis, but also help with other thing such as electricity. 
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We’re creating cow islands

We’re creating cow islands | Geography Education |
The parts of the United States that have higher populations of dairy cows are in the West and northern states.


Milk has moved away from cities between 2001 and 2011. Red areas indicate less milk in 2011 than 2001, green areas mean more and a buff color designates a neutral milk region.

Almost every region where you see a dark red area indicating a sharp decline in production has a large and growing population center nearby.

Seth Dixon's insight:

As many of you will notice, this continues the reversal of some patterns that von Thünen observed and put in his famous agricultural model. 


Questions to Ponder: Why did milk used to need to be produced close to the cities?  Why is the old pattern changing now? How is this changing regions?


Tags: models, food production, agribusiness, agriculture.

ava smith's curator insight, January 8, 11:24 PM
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Matt Manish's curator insight, February 16, 9:09 PM
I've never really wondered which parts of the country produce the milk I consume on a regular basis. But as the maps in this article show there are certain parts of country that are densely populated with cows for the sole purpose of producing milk. This article also indicates that the "cow islands" in the Southeastern part of the United States are becoming smaller, while the density of the "cow islands" in the Northern and Western parts of the country are increasing at a significantly steady rate. While reading this article, I learned more about where the most cows in the U.S. are producing milk and how that might affect the price of the milk I buy.
Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, February 19, 1:44 PM
How would this relate to the Von Thunen model we discussed?
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Homeland of tea

Homeland of tea | Geography Education |

"China is the world’s biggest tea producer, selling many varieties of tea leaves such as green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea and yellow tea. Different regions are famous for growing different types of tea. Hangzhou is famous for producing a type of green tea called Longjing or the Dragon Well tea. Tea tastes also vary regionally. Drinkers in Beijing tend to prefer jasmine tea while in Shanghai prefer green tea. Processing raw tea leaves for consumption is a time and labor-intensive activity and still done by hand in many areas in China. The Chinese tea industry employs around 80 million people as farmers, pickers and sales people. Tea pickers tend to be seasonal workers who migrate from all parts of the country during harvest time. In 2016, China produced 2.43 million tons of tea."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Tea, the world's most popular beverage, doesn't just magically appear on kitchen tables--it's production and consumption is shaped by geographic forces, cultural preferences, and regional variations.  These 21 images show the cultural, region, and environmental, economic, and agricultural context of tea.  


Tagsimages, foodChina, East Asia, economic, labor, food production, agriculture.

brielle blais's curator insight, May 2, 8:45 AM
This shows the importance of a product to a countries economy, culture, and use of physical geography. China is the worlds biggest producer of tea. This stimulates the economy greatly, and gives 80 millions people jobs as farmers, pickets and in sales. Exporting the tea to other countries also helps the economy. The workers are seasonal, and travel to the tea come harvest season. This also boost the economy in the travel sector. Tea is also hugely part of the cultural geography of China as it is believed to bring wisdom and lift the spirit to a higher level. 
Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, May 2, 9:49 PM
(East Asia) China, the founder of tea, is the largest producer of the most consumed drink in the world. With such an enormous country, regional differences between tea cultivation and culture naturally developed. There are approximately 80 million people involved in tea cultivation, which is non-mechanized in many parts. Linking tea with sanctity, farmers work long hours and come from across China seasonally.

A series of images follows the article. Most remarkable are the depictions of old and young Chinese farmers handpicking tea leaves, the vast plantations and agricultural architecture, and the tea tourism industry
Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, May 3, 10:04 PM
This article looks into how the popular beverage, tea, is produced. China is not only the world's largest producer, but also creates many different types of tea including green, black and dragons well. The drink was discovered in 2737 by a Chinese emperor, and the industry employs approximately 80 million people and it produced 2.43 million tons in 2016
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How Does it Grow? Avocados

Avocados have become a super trendy food, but few of us know how they're even grown or harvested. We visit a California farm to uncover the amazing story of the avocado — and share the secrets to choosing, ripening and cutting the fruit.
Seth Dixon's insight:

My childhood house in the Los Angeles area had an avocado tree in the backyard; I now realize that the climatic demands of avocado production means this is a rarity in the United States, but as a kid I thought guacamole was as ubiquitous as peanut butter.  This 5-minute video is a good introduction to the avocado, it's production, environmental requirements, nutritional profile and diffusion.  The geography of food goes far beyond the kitchen and there are more episodes in the "How Does it Grow?" series to show that. WARNING: the video does mention the Nahuatl origin of the word (‘testicle-fruit’) in the video so as you manage your own classroom…just so you know. 


Tags: foodeconomic, agribusiness, video, agriculture.

M Sullivan's curator insight, July 23, 2017 12:00 AM
An insight into how avocados are grown.
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Drought and Famine

In which John Green teaches you a little bit about drought, which is a natural weather phenomenon, and famine, which is almost always the result of human activity. Throughout human history, when food shortages strike humanity, there was food around. There was just a failure to connect those people with the food that would keep them alive. There are a lot of reasons that food distribution breaks down, and John is going to teach you about them in the context of the late-19th century famines that struck British India.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Famine is exacerbated by natural factors such as drought, but those only stress the system, they rarely cause the actual starvation.  The real failure is that the political/economic systems created by governments and how they handle stains in the food production/distribution systems.  Widespread famines are very rare in democracies and are much more prevalent in authoritarian regimes.  Many of the recent examples have come from collectivation strategies that governments have implemented (currently Venezuela, but historically the Soviet Union and China).  The Choices program has some good resources about teaching current events with the famines today.


Tags: food, povertyhistoricalcolonialism, economic, political, governance, agriculture, crash course


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Long-time Iowa farm cartoonist fired after creating this cartoon

Long-time Iowa farm cartoonist fired after creating this cartoon | Geography Education |

"Rick Friday has been giving farmers a voice and a laugh every Friday for two decades through his cartoons in Farm News.
Now the long-time Iowa farm cartoonist tells KCCI that he has been fired. Friday announced Sunday that his job was over after 21 years in a Facebook post that has since gone viral."

Seth Dixon's insight:

There are some intriguing layers connected to the politics of agribusiness in this story.  First off, the political cartoon highlights a pithy truth--that while the 'traditional' farmer is a lucrative position, in the global economy, there are corporations that are amassing fortunes in agribusiness.  The second connection is more telling--the newspaper company felt compelled to fire the cartoonist as for voicing this perspective as the newspaper advertisers flexed their pocketbooks to change the direction of the news being reported.  


Tags: agriculture, food production, agribusiness, foodeconomicindustry, scale, media

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The global food waste scandal

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.
Seth Dixon's insight:

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.

Sabrina Ortiz's curator insight, March 5, 2017 7:29 PM
My scoop it opinion piece was on global food waste. How globally food is thrown by the tons daily. Its audience is everyone and its purpose is to try to get people to open their eyes and waste less. America makes over four times the amount needed to feed its people. We are hurting the environment by making so much food that just go to waste. The purpose of this is to illustrate the huge issue we have with countries of people who don’t have food to begin with and here we are throwing away perfectly good food that could be use for these people or to feed pigs to make more meat. His exigence is all the food that could be use for other people or animals and its going to land fills daily. Its like a ticking time bomb hurting earth. His constraints are the laws set on food given to live stock in Europe and companies and the corporations that control the food. He urges people to use the amount of food they truly believe they will eat.
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The Spice Trade's Legacy

The Spice Trade's Legacy | Geography Education |

"In its day, the spice trade was the world’s biggest industry. It established and destroyed empires and helped the Europeans (who were looking for alternate routes to the east) map the globe through their discovery of new continents. What was once tightly controlled by the Arabs for centuries was now available throughout Europe with the establishment of the Ocean Spice Trade route connecting Europe directly to South Asia (India) and South East Asia."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The spice trade changed how we eat forever but it did so much more.  The fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire cut off Europe from the vital trade routes to the east and access to the most prized commodities of the day.  What drove European exploration to get around Africa and to cross the Atlantic?  It was to reshape their situation location relative to the economic networks that shaped the emerging global economy.  In essence, the spice trade reshaped the fortunes and trajectories of several major world regions.   


Tags: Southeast Asia, food productiondiffusionglobalization, agriculture, economicindustry, economic, historical, regions.

Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, February 19, 1:49 PM
History and AP Human Geography!  How has globalization changed the world? 
Richard Aitchison's curator insight, April 3, 8:10 AM
A very insightful article and shows the uttermost importance of geography in many phases. First off, it shows the importance of  having key resources within your country or region. Southeast Asia is know for its spices which made it especially key during the age of exploration. Also, which is key is how do we get there? What are the best trade routes? Over the years, first the Romans then the Ottoman Empire controlled key lands in which connected Europe and Southeast Asia. Since, the Christian Europeans did not want to work with the Muslims  they found new trade routes and well eventually we end up discovering the New World (the Americas". This shows how everything like always connects. Southeast Asia, which for most of its time  has been colonized up until almost the mid 1980s is finally starting to grow on its own. It will be interesting to see how they use there own resources to try to gain traction in the global markets throughout the next few decades and it we see any smaller world powers come out of the area. The spice trade dominated thousands of years of trade, but Southeast Asia has many other key resources as well and it will be key for politicians and businesses in the future to capitalize on this into the future. 
Nicole Canova's curator insight, May 2, 3:06 AM
It is no exaggeration to say that the spice trade shaped the world as we know it today. Southeast Asia's location made it the only place in the world to obtain some of the most popular spices and other goods. Meanwhile Constantinople, being situated squarely between Europe and Asia, was the perfect middleman through which spices could get to markets in Europe -- where demand was high from Antiquity through the Middle Ages -- until the city fell to the Ottoman Empire and turned its back on Europe. This motivated Europeans to develop the sailing and navigational technology necessary to find sea routes to Asia, which led to the discovery of the Americas, and the rest is history. What followed were centuries of colonization, conflict, trade, and globalization on a scale the world had never seen before. All because people were crazy for spices that could only be found half-way around the world.
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The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race | Geography Education |

"Forced to choose between limiting population or trying to increase food production, we chose the latter and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny. Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest-lasting life style in human history. In contrast, we're still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it's unclear whether we can solve it."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Jared Diamond wrote this highly controversial essay back in the 80's and it still can elicit strong reactions from anthropologists, geographers, historians, and other scholars.  This is a good reading to give students during an agricultural unit.  This can get students to question many of the assumptions about humanity that they probably never knew they had (Diamond challenged the mainstream progressivist position).


Questions to Ponder: What is the progressivist view?  What were the negative impacts that early agriculture had on human health?  What social problems does Diamond attribute to agriculture?  What evidence would you present to argue against Diamond's position?


Tagsagriculturefolk culturestechnologyindigenous.

Eben Lenderking's curator insight, October 12, 2016 3:07 AM

Is it too late to reprogram ourselves?

Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, February 19, 1:50 PM
Another of Jared Diamond's theories.  Agree or disagree?  Support your stance!
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Cotton Candy Grapes?!?

Cotton Candy Grapes?!? | Geography Education |
Seth Dixon's insight:

After years of seeing fruit-flavored candy, we are now seeing candy-flavored fruit. The company Grapery is very careful to highlight that these patented fruit varieties are not GMOs, but the cotton candy flavored grapes are cross pollinated by hand (by fruit geneticists). You can watch this 4 minute CBS video about the agricultural production and marketing of this new product. Yes, I've experimented with these at a friend's house, and they really do taste like cotton candy (and no, I'm not planning on purchasing any).     


Questions to Ponder: Does this make you leery about eating this or totally excited to try it? How come?  Why is the company so adamant to state that these grapes are non-GMO? According to the video, what are the primary concerns of most grape producers and how does that contrast with this company?  


Tagsfood, food production, agribusiness, agriculture, GMOstechnology.

Shir Turgeman's curator insight, April 11, 2017 9:24 AM
טעמו של סוג ענבים זה הוא בדיוק כמו של "שיערות סבתא" שהיינו אוכלים בתור ילדים. בנוסף, בשונה מ"שיערות סבתא", ענבים אלו אינם דביקים ואינם מלאים בתוספי סוכר אבל הם הרבה יותר מתוקים בטעמם מענבים רגילים ומכילים יותר מיץ. על ענבים אלו מדברים בכל העולם- מעיתונים וכתבי עט ועד חדשות בפריים טיים. אנשים לא מאמינים עד כמה זה קרוב בטעם לממתק (שיערות סבתא) המוכר, עד אשר הם טועמים את זה.
Colleen Blankenship's curator insight, February 19, 1:51 PM
GMO's creating a sugary agribusiness product!
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Making Ethanol from Sugarcane

This segment highlights how sugarcane is processed into ethanol for fuel and other uses.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Sugarcane ethanol has proven to be one of the most environmentally safe alternative fuel sources. In addition to its green energy properties, sugarcane ethanol has fueled the Brazilian economy for over a decade. The Brazilian automotive industry have developed a complex, “Flex Fuel” engine that allows vehicles to run off of both gasoline and ethanol. Also, sugarcane ethanol has been one of their leading exports in the global economy. Due to recently discovered fuel deposits in Brazil and around the globe, there has been a decline in the need for sugarcane ethanol. This has negatively impacted the economy in addition to the Brazilian job market. But thanks to the engineering of cellulosic ethanol, Brazil is striving to become the green energy superpower yet again.


Questions to Ponder: Since cellulosic ethanol production is so expensive, do you think that will deter production and customers from purchasing it? Do you think that Brazil will ever become independent of fossil fuels as a result of their successful sugarcane ethanol production?


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

Katie Kershaw's curator insight, February 15, 2:50 PM
While the process of making ethanol takes a long time and is expensive, I think it is worth investing in and pursuing as an alternative to fossil fuels.  Like most products, once the process of making the ethanol is perfected and made more efficient, it will be cheaper and easier to make.  Brazil has not invested as much time in the product after they found reserves of oil, because the oil was more profitable.  The demand in the world in extremely high and therefore it was more economically wise for Brazil to put focus on fossil fuel extraction.  However, they already have created technology that is able to run on ethanol and they’ve realized that the product is more environmentally friendly.  This means that the potential to stop relying on fossil fuels is realistic. Since sugar is a renewable resource, it makes more long term economic sense to invest into sugarcane and ethanol production because fossil fuels will eventually run out.
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Pros and Cons of Cotton Production in Uzbekistan

Pros and Cons of Cotton Production in Uzbekistan | Geography Education |

"This case study considers the pros and cons of cotton production in Uzbekistan. Since the country's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, revenues from cotton taxation have contributed substantially to developing the industrial sector, boosting the current account, achieving energy and food-grain self-sufficiency, and buffering domestic shocks in food and energy prices. Nonetheless, some argue that the state procurement system hampers the development of the agricultural sector. Often the payments for cotton hardly cover farmers' production costs, and the quasi mono-culture of cotton production has adversely affected environmental sustainability."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Uzbekistan is a top world producer and exporter of cotton. There are many sectors involved in managing the cotton commodity chain to partake in the production. Not only is it a source of income, but provides labor jobs and food consumption. However, the land where the cotton production takes place is suffering. This land faces many types of land degradation that has an impact on the cotton. In order to secure the land, there are possible solutions and policies to improve the agriculture and the cotton benefits. Once the world’s fourth largest lake, the Aral Sea, is located in Uzbekistan, and has had a major impact on the cotton industry. This production has given Uzbekistan a world-wide reputation in cotton production, but is also known for destroying one of the world’s largest lakes.  Just because it is your greatest economic competitive advantage, doesn't mean that it is environmentally sustainable.


Questions to Ponder: How much does the cotton production contribute to Uzbekistan economically? What are the solutions to address the demising Aral Sea? Who is impacted the most because of the land issues?


Tags:  agriculture, labor, Uzbekistan, physical, weather and climateland use, environmentAral Sea.

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Robotics in Agriculture

Autonomous robots created at the University of Sydney can count fruit on trees, spray weeds, and even herd cows.
Seth Dixon's insight:

We all know that agriculture is becoming increasingly mechanized.  In addition to large, expensive machinery, this video showcases some robots that are automating work that was previously very labor intensive. 


Questions to Ponder: How will robotics impact agriculture and other industries in the future?  Will this impact the spatial dynamics of agricultural land? 


Tagsfood production, agriculture, foodeconomic, industry, scale, agribusiness, technology.       



LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, May 20, 2016 10:08 AM
Until robots understand holism and acquire a metaphysical connection with Nature, agriculture will probably continue down a path where soon they'll design artificial bees for pollination, and chemical-exuding worms to breakdown the nutrients predigested by bacteria ... if that works, which I doubt.
John Edwards's curator insight, June 2, 2016 4:18 AM
I remember doing my GCSE French oral presentation on exactly this matter - "L'exode rural". Seems we're moving slower than I thought.
Nicole's curator insight, January 4, 2017 5:10 PM

Is this the future of #Agriculture? #agrobots #ffce2017