A hard look at corn economics — and world hunger

Corn is not what you think. For starters: Most of the time, it’s not human food.

Source: www.marketplace.org

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


Tagspodcast, political ecologyagriculture, food production, land use.

Feeding the Whole World

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

Source: www.youtube.com

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

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

Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style

“A former gang member from Long Beach, California, teaches break dancing to at-risk youths in Cambodia.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This video is a great example of cross-cultural interactions in the era of globalization.  Urban youth culture of the United States is spread to Cambodia through a former refugee (with a personally complex political geography).  What geographic themes are evident in this video? How is geography being reshaped and by what forces?

Feeding Our Hungry Planet

“By 2050, the world’s population will likely increase 35 percent. But is growing more food the only option—or even the best? National Geographic investigates the challenges and solutions to feeding everyone on our planet, based on an eight-month series in National Geographic magazine.  Visit http://natgeofood.com for ongoing coverage of food issues as we investigate the Future of Food today on World Food Day.”

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

The long and ugly tradition of treating Africa as a dirty, diseased place

How alarmist, racist coverage of Ebola makes things worse. A dressing down of the latest #NewsweekFail.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

The recent Newsweek Cover showing a Chimpanzee for the article, Smuggled Bushmeat Is Ebola’s Back Door to America, has received a lot of criticism for being factually inaccurate, but also for it’s portrayal of Africa that taps into deep-rooted cultural anxieties about Africa in United States.  Western writers have use many cultural conventions to talk about “the Dark Continent” stemming from a long colonial tradition.  Africa had been developing rapidly in the last decade and how Ebola fares seems to be a referendum on the continent for many cultural commentators.  This great Washington Post article is less about Ebola, but uses the outbreak to analyze how we think about Africa, and sometimes it isn’t a pretty reflection.  The Ebola outbreak is teaching us how we perceive Africa as much as it is about Africa itself.

 

Tags: Ebola, Africacolonialism, regions, perspective.