ggr287 Term Test Questions-2.docx

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Pierre Desrochers

Term Test questions 1. According to your professor, what are the commonly admitted facts about modern agriculture?  Food is cheaper, more abundant, year round <>  More urbanization, less farmers, big agri-business  Food production, processing, and retailing now globalized What are the two main divergent interpretations of these facts?  Good (>people fed, quality of life)  Bad, costs (environment, social, nutritional, public health and animal welfare problems) What is the bottom line of the supporters of modern agriculture? Since the 1950s  Human numbers and food demand grew>>>  Yet food supplies increased even faster To Avoid  Mounting food scarcity  Destruction forests and other habitats We Need  More R&D  >>>per hectare yields List three reasons as to why modern agriculture isn't sustainable according to its detractors.  Exhaustion of the soil  Eutrophication (“marine dead zones”)  Disease resistant bacteria  Global Warming  Rising prices of oil  unsustainable increase in meat consumption 2. List and discuss briefly two problems - one of input and one institutional - of African agriculture as discussed by Tyler Cowen. The price of fertilizer in Africa is often two to four times the world price. Because their soil is difficult to grow in they need the fertilizer more than in other places. Have unhelpful policies toward agriculture. Import restrictions and price controls. Describe briefly Michael Pollan's compulsory composting scheme and Blake Hurst's take on it. Pollan’s idea is to have mandatory household composting, with the compost delivered to farmers free of charge. Hurst’s take on it is that it will not do much to solve the nitrogen problem because household compost has only 1-5% nitrogen and not all nitrogen would be available to crops in the first year. Also that the amount of compost needed to fertilize corn crops in the US would raise the carbon footprint from the delivery trucks. 3. What is the key concept of Food Policy Project's proposal? Food sovereignty List and discuss briefly three of its key elements.  Ensuring that food is eaten as close as possible to where it is produced (eg,: domestic/regional purchasing policies for institutions and large food retailers, community-supported agriculture, local farmers markets, etc.).  Supporting food providers in a widespread shift to ecological production in both urban and rural settings (eg, organic agriculture, community-managed fisheries, indigenous food systems, etc.), including policies for the entry of new farmers into agriculture.  Enacting a strong federal poverty elimination and prevention program, with measurable targets and timelines, to ensure Canadians can better afford healthy food.  Creating a nationally-funded Children and Food strategy (including school meal programs, school gardens, and food literacy programs) to ensure that all children at all times have access to the food required for healthy lives.  Ensuring that the public, especially the most marginalized, are actively involved in decisions that affect the food system. According to Kyle Smith, what is the greatest food in human history (or close to it)? McDonald’s McDouble cheeseburger. 4. Why does Robert Paarlberg argue that food prices on the world market tell us very little about world hunger? International markets for food, like most other international markets, are used most heavily by the well- to-do, who are far from hungry. Why does he argue that the Green Revolution delivered better agricultural and social outcomes in Asia than in Latin America? In Latin America, where access to good agricultural land and credit has been narrowly controlled by traditional elites, the improved seeds made available by the Green Revolution increased income gaps. In Asia, the Green Revolution seeds performed just as well on small nonmechanized farms as on larger farms. Wherever small farmers had sufficient access to credit, they took up the new technology just as quickly as big farmers, which led to dramatic income gains and no increase in inequality or social friction. Even poor landless laborers gained, because more abundant crops meant more work at harvest time, increasing rural wages. In Asia, the Green Revolution was good for both agriculture and social justice. 5. List three (3) characteristics of 'Subsistence Agriculture' or (or 'Globally-important Ingenious Agricultural Heritage Systems' - GIAHS).  Small farm size & continuous production  Maximum use of local resources  Low dependence on off-farm inputs List three (3) main features of modern agriculture.  monocultures (annual plantings of same crops)  synthetic chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides)  fossil fuels  mechanization What were the main goals and results achieved by plant breeders over time in terms of production and consumption (list 3 things for each)? o production:  new architecture (i.e. food doesn’t look like its ancestor, ex. Dwarf wheat)  reducing the length of the growing season beneficial because helps crops develop in fewer days which reduces problems associated with frost  resistance to pests and diseases  increasing the size of seeds and fruits o consumption  fewer toxins  easier digestion  better nutrition  longer shelf life  enhanced freshness 6. List four (4) similarities between insect and human agriculture according to your professor. o monocultures: they produce one type of fungus or one type of livestock (aphids) o indoor production (controlled environments) o antibiotics (pesticides) o weeding o herding List four (4) benefits that result from the cooking of our food. List one potential problem of cooking. 6 advantages of cooking:  breaks starch molecules into more digestible fragments  denatures protein molecules (more easily digestible)  heat physically softens food (requires fewer calories to digest it)  reduces food-related diseases (parasites, disease, microbes, toxins)  heating destroys some microbes responsible for food spoilage (helps preservation for future consumption)  enhances flavours (esp. meat) potential problems of cooking: o destruction of vitamins & thiamine o solubility losses of valuable minerals (esp if large amounts of water used) 7. According to some researchers, what evolutionary anatomical change allowed the increase in human brain size and the acquisition of language? Why? *The explanation for this shift from the smaller skulls and wider pelvises of man's apelike ancestors has been a shift from a vegetable-based diet to a meat-based one. Meat has more calories than plant matter, the theory went. A smaller gut could therefore support a larger brain. According to Richard Wrangham, what cultural factor was probably crucial for this transformation? Cooking our food Why does he further argue that meat-eating alone is insufficient to explain how large our species brains have become over time? Raw meat
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