FOOD AND AGRICULTURE NOTES

 

Nutrition and Food Supplies

Why do we have starvation in the world?

Overnutrition:

  • affects _____% of the world
  • increases blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes

Overweight:

  • _____% of Americans are overweight
  • obese: 30 lbs over ideal weight: ______% of Americans are obese
  • morbidly overweight-100 lbs over ideal weight: 5 million Americans or _____%.

Undernourished: less than 2,200 kcal/day

  • _____ million people are severely undernourished and 11 million children die of starvation. 13% of theworld.
  • Poverty is greatest threat. Hungriest places are ___________, and Southern Asia.
  • 1.4 billion people live on less than $____/day.

Famines:

Large-scale food shortages, massive starvation, social disruption, economic chaos

Causes:

Democracies seldom have famines!

Physical Effects of Undernourishment:

__________________ and ________________, especially if undernourished as a youth.

Infectious diseases that causes diarrhea can become lethal.

Leading cause of death in 3rd World is _______________!

Types

  1. Kwashiorkor: a ­­­­­­_________________ in children, mainly in West Africa, victims have reddish hair, puffy, discolored skin, and a bloated stomach.
  2. Marasmus: caused by a diet low in ________ and _________, the child is thin and shriveled.
  3. Anemia: most common dietary deficiency in the world (not enough __________) is a lack of hemoglobin in the blood.
  4. Goiter (a swollen thyroid gland): A deficiency of __________ can cause brain damage.

MAJOR FOOD SOURCES

Westernized diet:

  • 12 grains
  • 3 root crops
  • 20 fruits/veggies
  • ___ mammals
  • ___ fowl

North America, Japan, 7 Europe (20% world population) consume ________% of animal products

Average American eats 260 lbs/meat/year, average Bangladesh citizen eats 6.5 lbs/meat/year.

90% of grain grown is used to feed animals (for slaughter) and yet if people ate just grains many more people could be fed.

1/2 pound steak could feed 40 people if grains were fed directly to them.

 

Traditional Agriculture

  • 42% of the world grows food for their survival.
  • Relies on human and animal labor
  • Slash and Burn is one type of traditional agriculture. An area of vegetation is cut down and burned before planting with crops. Because the soil is relatively poor, the farmer must abandon his field within five years.
  • Can be sustainable if done correctly.
    • Organic farming mimics traditional agriculture with a focus on sustainability.

Sustainable agriculture techniques:

  • Usually low input- depends on hand tools and natural fertilizers such as composted animal wastes/kitchen wastes.
  • Reduced tillage (Lo-Till): soil is disturbed as little as possible.
  • Selecting plants that are appropriate for the _______________.
  • _______________ plowing- plowing across hills, rather than up and down to reduce water erosion.
  • Strip Farming-planting different kinds of crops in alternating strips along the land contours.
  • Terracing-shaping the land to create level ____________ of earth to hold water and soil: edges of terraces planted with soil, anchoring plant species- makes farming on steep hills possible.
  • Crop rotations- plant fields with different crops from year to year to reduce soil depletion. Legumes replace _______________ in soil.
  • Natural pesticides- use low to no toxicity pesticides like pyrethrum (extracted from chrysanthemum flower) or tobacco- increases beneficial insect populations (like _____________ mantis)
  • Mulching, ground cover and covering crops with crop residues- holds in moisture and add organic nutrients to soil
  • Buffers or Alley Cropping- plant rows of trees or shrubs on the side of your fields to increase biodiversity and reduce wind erosion
  • Interplanting- growing two different crops (or more) in same field
    -Benefits:

- ex: Three sisters: corn, _______ and squash. Beans and pumpkins planted in between corn rows- ________ provide nitrogen for corn, corn produces a vertical pole for the beans to grow on, and pumpkin crowds out the weeds.

Polyculture is a form of interplanting that includes crop rotation, intercropping and alley cropping. The diversity of crops mimics nature and reduces pest attack while increasing biodiversity.

  • Natural fertilizers- use animal waste, green manure (plant waste) or fish left overs as the Indians taught the settlers

 

 

The Green Revolution

After 1950, traditional agricultural practices began changing into mega corporation monocultures (one crop is grown).

  • Farming is mechanized and with the help of high imputs of fertilizers and pesticides crop yields soared.
  • Large farm machinery has allowed the farmer to work more land, more efficiently.
  • Crop plants have been genetically manipulated to increase yields like never before. (Genetic engineering)
  • Technically enough food is grown for everyone in the world to get enough to eat.

 

And now for the BAD news

  • Artificial irrigation uses water faster than the groundwater can replenish it and water tables everywhere ar dropping. Plus some fields can build up salts causing salinization.
  • Farmers, neighbors and wildlife are poisoned by the pesticides and marine life is devastated by the fertilizer run off. Dead Zones occur in river bays and the surrounding ocean.
  • Pest quickly become immune to the pesticides requiring stronger pesticides to be used. (Its use has tripled since 1950).
  • Soil erosion is occuring many times faster than it develops.
  • Less organic matter is covering the soil.
  • Fossil fuels is the basis of this revolution and we are running out.
  • Conventional agriculture is NOT sustainable and is very distructive to the planets health

 

More bad news

  • The total number of farms has declined from _____ million in 1935 to ____ million in 1997, mostly among ___________-type farms.
  • The farms are becoming _____________. Drive toward agrobusiness corporate farming.
  • High consumption of ____________ products- most food we eat has traveled 1500 miles.
  • Low cost of food production (mostly because of government subsidities) puts small, rural farms out of business both locally and internationally by flooding the market with cheap mass produced foods
  • Indifferent cruelty to _________ and migrant workers

 

Genetically Modified Organisms

GMO= genetically modified food. Favorable characteristics from one living thing is transfered into another. over 75% of the crops grown in the US are genetically modified.

    Pro:

    • pest resistance
    • *herbicide tolerance- majority of GMOs
    • disease resistance
    • cold tolerance
    • drought/salinity tolerance
    • nutrition- ex. vitamin A
    • faster maturing animals for food
    • pharmaceuticals- ex. research on edible vaccines in tomatoes and potatoes!
    • phytoremediation- plants clean up pollution in soil and groundwater. ex. poplar trees collect heavy metal pollution from soil.

     

    Con:

    • genetically engineered plants could escape into _______ and create super weeds
    • Bt bacterium, a natural pesticide, added to plant genes is causing genetic resistance and taking away __________ farmers best defense
    • unintended harm to other organisms- ex. Bt bacterium genes in corn kills monarch caterpillers.
    • called __________- are we creating a monster?

 

What is the solution?

  • __________________________ Agriculture: regenerative farming is the answer!
  • Goal is to produce food and fiber on a sustainable basis and repair the damage caused by destructive practices.
  • The most healthy farms have rich, fertile soils. Lack of fertile soil was a common contributing factor for the collapse of many major past civilizations. ______________, _______________,
  • ______________ Soil fertility is improved by increasing the soils humus and biological activity (bacteria and worms) plus correcting for mineral deficiencies.
  • Mimic nature and grow a mix of different crops!!
  • Healthy plants are much less susceptible to disease and insect attack.

 

Local Action

  1. Buy local- less transportation costs
  2. Buy organic
  3. Join a CSA- C_______________________ S_________________ A___________________ farm