Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.



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


Cotton Candy Grapes?!?


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.


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.


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,

Where our food came from

“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.”


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.

Sustaining Seven Billion People

“With seven billion people now living on Earth, the ever growing demand is putting unprecedented pressure on global resources—especially forests, water, and food. How can Earth’s resources be managed best to support so many people? One key is tracking the sum of what is available, and perhaps nothing is better suited to that task than satellites.”


Agricultural production is one of the ways in which people modify the environment more than any other.  Global population is expected to top out at around 9 billion around 2050, so will we be able to sustainably feed all of the entire human population?  Satellite imagery can help answer these questions. 

Tagsremote sensing, geospatial, images, sustainability, agriculture, food production, environment modify, unit 5 agriculture

La Tomatina 2012

La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Bunol, located inland from the Mediterranean Sea, that brings together thousands of people for one big tomato fight – purely for fun!

La Tomatina is a cultural festival in Spain that is world renowned for it’s exuberance and playfulness.  This gallery of 26 images shows some of the dynamism and appeal to this extraordinary event where more than 40,000 people engage in the world’s largest foof fight using upwards of 100 tons of tomatoes in the yearly food fight known as ‘La Tomatina.’

Notice the signs for storing backpacks and luggage that are now pastered with tomatoes on the store in the background of the image.  These hastily-composed, informal signs are written in three languages (Spanish, English and Japanese).  What does this tell us about the festival?  Also, notice how the comments section revolves around the concepts of waste, poverty and consumption.

Tags: Europe, foodtourism, seasonal, culture, unit 3 culture, consumption.

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Genetically Modified Foods

Via Scoop.itGeography Education

“93% of Americans want the FDA to label genetically engineered foods. Watch the new video from Food, Inc. Filmmaker Robert Kenner to hear why we have the right to know what’s in our food.”

Clearly this video has a political agenda, but this is a pertinent video to show in an Agriculture unit.  Many countries around the world require the labeling of genetically modified food products, while the United States (currently) does not.  The organization that sponsored this video and  Health blog‘s are concerned about how this impacts nutrition in the United States, having uninformed food consumers.  Political action is currently underway in the United States to change this.

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