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GGR 287 midterm notes-questions and answers .docx

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Pierre Desrochers

1. According to your professor, what are the commonly admitted facts about modern agriculture? What are the two main divergent interpretations of these facts? What is the bottom line of the supporters of modern agriculture? List three reasons as to why modern agriculture isn't sustainable according to its detractors. • People agree on a lot not disruptive, interpretation of facts are different • Never cheaper, more abundant, or fresh than any other generation (only became fresh year round recently) • Lot more people in cities, less famers for long time • Less than 2% of in advanced economy that produce the food • Produced, processed and retailed globally—travels distances to be produced to consumers likings/preferences  Good (>fed, quality of life)  Bad (environment, social, nutritional, public health, etc.) o Need more research and development o Produce more food on the same amount of land—do this in current time o Need more trade and a decent diet  Exhaustion of soil  Eutrophication (“marine dead zones”)  Disease resistant bacteria 2. What kind of new crop varieties are advocated by people who promote the 'sustainable intensification of global agriculture'? List two other lower-tech types of research associated with this perspective. Describe briefly Michael Pollan's compulsory composting scheme and Blake Hurst's take on it. • Partial replacement of human labour by: animal, wind, water, fossil fuels • Irrigation and fertilization—water shortage, lack of nutrients • Growing—multi-cropping, rotations (cereals and leguminous crops)   o Pollan believes that 1) we could use cover crops to help in the nitrogen process (planting black fields to nitrogen producing cover crops after the cash crops are harvested) and 2) Using mandatory household compostingtaking compost to farms to help enrich the soils with nitrogen o Hurst believes that Pollan’s ideas are inefficient and wouldn’t work1) cant plant crops during freezing weather and 2) It’s impossible to get the household compost (NYC) to farms on the outskirts of the city. 3. What is the key concept of Food Policy Project's proposal? List and discuss briefly four of its key elements. Rooted in the concept of food sovereignty (healthy lives, communities, economies, and eco-ssytems) • Ensuring that food is eaten as close as possible to where it is produced • Supporting food providers in a widespread shift to ecological production in both urban and rural settings, including policies for the entry of new farmers into agriculture • Enacting a strong federal poverty elimination and prevention program (with targets and timelines to ensure Canadians can better afford healthy food) • Creating a nationally-funded Children and Food Strategy to ensure that all children at all times have access to the food required for healthy lives 4. Why does Robert Paarlberg argue that food prices on the world market tell us very little about world hunger? Why does he argue that the Green Revolution delivered better agricultural and social outcomes in Asia than in Latin America? • Food prices tell us little about world hunger because high food prices would be particularly damaging in poor countries (“no margin for survival”). Feel that since rice and wheat down from peak the crisis is over, yet 850 million people in poor countries were undernourished before 2008 spike and the number is larger now. • ASIA: new seeds lifted millions of farmers out of desperate poverty and finally ended a period of periodic famine. (fell from 60% to 27%). Even poor landless laborers gainedincreased rural wages during harvest time, good for agriculture and social justice • LATIN AMERICA: increased income gaps, peasants who would plant on old land got pushed off and the land was sold to commercial growers for more profit, therefore peasants became slums. Yet hunger still declined more than 50%. 5. What were the main goals and results achieved by plant breeders over time in terms of production and consumption (list 3 things for each)? List four similarities between insect and human agriculture according to your professor. • Production: New Architecture, Length of growing season, resistance to pests and diseases, size of seeds and fruits • Consumption: Fewer toxins, easier digestion, better nutrition, longer shelf life, enhanced freshness  Indoor production, antibiotics, weeding, herding 6. According to some researchers, what evolutionary anatomical change allowed the increase in human brain size and the acquisition of language? Why? According to Richard Wrangham, what cultural factor was probably crucial for this transformation? Why does he further argue that meat-eating alone is insufficient to explain how large our species' brains have become over time? • About 2.4m years ago the key muscle protein in human jaws was disabled, which weakened it  It was cooking that lead to the change, cooked food does not need strong jaws o 7. List 4 benefits that result from the cooking of our food. Give a concise definition of horticulture. List two historical benefits (other than food) of cultivating plants and two benefits (other than meat) for raising livestock. • Breaks starch molecules into more digestible fragments • Heat physically softens food • Reduces food-related diseases • Enhances flavour  Horticulture: is the cultivation of flowers, fruit, vegetables, or ornamental plants; the science and art of cultivating such plants o Plants: Fiber and Medicine o Livestock: Milk and Manure 8. According to C.S. Prakash, what were the main social consequences of humanity moving beyond the nomadic lifestyle to farming in terms of lifestyle and cultural development? What was the number of feral plant species humans could have tried eating? How many are now grown intensively? List three profound alterations in plant phenotypes achieved by humans that made these plants less likely to survive in the wild on their own. • We faced crop development and human civilizationbecame community dwellers, developing language, literature, science, and technology • Subsequent domestication of plants and animals lead to agriculture  Tried eating thousands of feral plant species o A little over 100 crop species are grown intensively around the world  Determinate growth habitat  Reduction of bitterness and harmful toxins  Shorter maturity 9. According to your professor, what are the basic characteristics of subsistence agriculture and its 'ideal type' in terms of crops (give 2 characteristics) and farm animals (give 2 characteristics)? What are the three different types of subsistence farming? Subsistence Agriculture Characteristics: • Small scale production • Several different kinds of crops and animals • Primarily for family consumption rather than sale (people in past historically fed themselves)  Crops:  Grow as much food as possible—costs no consideration  Stored and preserved until next harvest o Animals: o Brings some variety in diet o Insurance against crop failure 10. How did your professor summarize J. H. von Thünen's 1826 model of agricultural land use on a flat plain? Include additional information (such as types of food production and reason for the location of certain productions) when needed. • Centre City-First = flat plain and in the middle st • 1 Ring: Animals and Productsstuff that doesn’t travel well, and for organic wastes—chicken, rabbits, pigs, dairy cows, horticulture, milk, eggs, feed or require organic waste nd • 2 Ring: Timber and Firewoodpeople kept trees to keep warm, couldn’t travel due to big and bulk, women in charge of collecting firewood • 3 Ring: Grain Crops 1) More durable than other crops 2) Easier to transport than wood th • 4 Ring: Animals that travel well and fed forage 11. List and describe briefly three (3) food security strategies in traditional (or agricultural subsistence) agricultural systems. According to your professor, what are the main factors and historical developments that paved the way to the ever greater specialization of agricultural productions? List four (4) negative consequences of the Green Revolution according to Vandana Shiva. • Diversity in crop productions and landscape elements (slopes, valleys) (good against specific diseases and localized weather events not so much against droughts, locusts, etc.) • Catch-up Crops (can be grown quickly after early & obvious failure or a more desirable one) –winter wheat and millet • Famine Food (things otherwise not eaten) “Mud Pies” –get clay, add in oil, vegetable shortening, salt, sugar, butter, tree barks, grass (soups)  PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY + URBANIZATION + INNOVATION (transport and conservation) = EVER GREATER REGION SPECIALIATION o Diseased soils o Pest-infected crops o Water logged deserts o Indebted and discontent farms 12. Summarize three (3) types of innovation (and their benefits) associated with the work of Norman Borlaug in Mexico. • 13. Describe briefly vertical coordination (or marketing contracts) in production agriculture. What is the rationale behind production and marketing contracts? • Vertical Coordination: synchronization of successive stages of production and marketing with respect to— quantity, quality, timing of product flows  Rationale: increase efficiency, to obtain (or reduce the cost of) financing, reduce uncertainty, gain market advantage 14. What is a commodity? A landrace? A breed? A futures contract? • Physical substance (e.g. Grains) • Interchangeable with another product of same type • Investors buy/sell through different means • Price subject to supply and demand  Local variety of domesticated animal/plant species  Developed largely by natural processes (adaptation to its natural and cultural development) o Bred deliberately to conform to a particular standard type  Standardized agreement between buyers and sellers  To exchange an amount and grade of an item (underlying asset)  At specific price and future date 15. What are the main benefits of standards and grades? Those of brands? • 1. Producers of equality output obtain maximum value • 2. Customers know exactly what they are getting • 3. Handling and transportation can be done more efficiently by combing similar goods from different producers  1. To address adulteration and guarantee equality  2. Customer recognition and loyalty 16. What were the main improvements sought by plant and animal breeders over time? • Better taste • Better appearance • Greater disease/weather resistance • Plants: higher yields, shorter growing season, longer shelf life and resistance to transportation • Animals: Better feed to meat/dairy/eggs ratio 17. What are the three main cereal crops in the world? Which one is produced more than the other two? What are the main uses of corn in advanced economies? Which countries are the two most important producers of corn? Why is yellow corn often preferred as an animal feed? What are the key elements of conservation tillage and how do they benefits farmers and the environment? • Three main cereal crops include: Maize (corn), rice and wheat  Maize is produced the most o 18. Describe the problem known as 'lodging.' Why were millers originally not very receptive to the 'Red Fife' wheat variety? Which 1904 American event and nearly simultaneous developments in Europe favored the expansion of durum wheat production in the American plains at the beginning of the twentieth century? • Lodging: With extra synthetic Nitrogen traditional varieties grew larger grain heads, but the stems (straw) of the plants were so full.  It was considered unfit for making bread, unable to grind heard wheat satisfactorily or separate the bran, and consumers distained the flour o 19. List two basic facts for the pros and two basic facts for the cons of African rice when compared to Asian rice. What is the name of the hybrid rice created from these two varieties? Why do so many rice producers go through the trouble of flooding their fields? In the recent past, why did countries like China and Pakistan often import wheat and export rice? Where did the first modern breakthrough in terms of (nitrogen-responsive and high-yielding) semidwarf rices occur? • Cons: Shattering and Brittle grain • Pros: more tolerance, fluctuations in water depth  Nerica (Hybrid RiceAfrican and Asian) o Best control for weeds and pests  Because they were low income countries, they often imported wheat at
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