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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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food

Battle Cry for the Bodega

Why the chainification of the corner store is a bigger deal than losing book stores and record stores combined.

 

The term Bodega originally referred to a neighborhood grocery in a mostly Spanish-speaking part of town, it has come to be used (in my experience) to cover just about any independently owned small grocer in the city. The fear is that the corporate behemoth (7-Eleven) will destroy the neighborhood bodega, a New York institution of long standing. The quintessential bodega is a beloved part of the fabric of the city.  The outcry has been loudest in the East Village, a neighborhood that despite gentrification still prides itself on its countercultural attitude and grimy authenticity.

Source: www.citylab.com

When we discuss food deserts, we typically think about places that lack supermarkets.  In an urban context, the places that often fill this void are the bodegas.  In some major cities, these are going away as chains like 7-Eleven want to expand their reach and squeeze out these independent grocers. However you view this issue, “There’s no denying that the texture of the city would be flattened if the idiosyncratic bodega became an endangered species.”

 

Tags: food, urban, povertyplace, socioeconomic, food desert.

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.

Source: www.youtube.com

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.

Why Eating Chinese Food on Christmas Is a Sacred Tradition for American Jews

“[Jews] will not go to Mile End on Christmas because [they] happened to feel like fried rice; they will go to proudly proclaim their Jewish-American identity. They may or may not enjoy General Tso’s Chicken, but if they are eating it on Christmas, their prime motivation is not the general’s sweet, spicy deliciousness, but rather the knowledge that they are doing something that in some adapted way reinforces their Jewishness.”

 

Tags: Judaism, culturecultural norms, food, seasonal.

Source: www.tabletmag.com

11 Facts About Food Deserts

“Food insecurity has a high correlation with increased diabetes rates. In Chicago, the death rate from diabetes in a food desert is twice that of areas with access to grocery stores.”

Source: www.dosomething.org

Food deserts are places where residents have limited access to healthy food.  Here is a great map from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture that shows low-income census tract that are more than one mile from supermarkets and rural areas that are more than 10 miles from the nearest supermarket.  Esri has also produced a food desert map that shows where unserved people (farther than 1 mile in urban/10 miles in rural) live in poverty.  For a household with a private automobile, distance to a supermarket isn’t that crucial an issue, but without an automobile, this lack of healthy food available becomes a significant challenge for residents that live in this neighborhood.  

 

Tags: food, urban, povertyplace, socioeconomic, food desert.

Thanksgiving Resources

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

Source: www.scoop.it

Looking for some Thanksgiving resources?  Here you go. 

 

Tags: Thanksgiving, food, seasonal.

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

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

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Cotton Candy Grapes?!?

Source: www.grapery.biz

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.

Creamed, Canned And Frozen: How The Great Depression Revamped U.S. Diets

During the Depression, cheap, nutritious and filling food was prioritized — often at the expense of taste. Jane Ziegelman and Andy Coe, authors of A Square Meal, discuss food trends of the time.

Source: www.npr.org

Peanut butter and school lunches became fixtures of American culture during the Depression.  On the flip side, our modern preference for freshness is a reaction against the Depression’s obsession to find ways to preserve food for longer amounts of time.  

 

Tags: foodeconomicfood distribution, historical, podcast.

Why the US government wants Americans to eat more cheese

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.

Source: www.csmonitor.com

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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