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University of Toronto St. George
Sarah Wakefield

Lecture 1 • Explores human and environment connections through means of food • Food is central to human experience o Expression of culture o Food as an organizing concept • 2008 Food crisis o Labor wage rise/material cost rise o Invisible hunger, good becomes inaccessible to many (ability to feed suffered) • Export bans – government chose to stop exporting their crops (eg. Pakistan, India) • ‘Artificial Meat’ o Meets global demand for meat (scientists take) o Maintain ecosystem stability while pleasing 6 billion people Video – ‘The Global Banquet’ • Produced by collection of church goers • Free Trade – large companies to dominate – deepens structure for hunger – protest basic food production • Profit is being taken over by processing, equity Farmers -> how profit consumers -> high prices • Subsidy – monetary aid given to a business or economic sector (Cargill, grain subsidy) o Small farmers do not have enough acres of land = no subsidy • Struggle for acres of land for farming o Corporate world doesn’t acknowledge • The poor farmers are forced to the hillside, where they work for cheap labor for the rich • ‘Globalization’– decrease in food prices – loss democracy, expansion of corporation – profit for shareholders are primary concerns • Corporate agriculture - scarcity is not the problem, ‘hunger symptom’of inequality • Small farms = preserve the land, environmentally considerable, long term profit for all Large farm = more subsidy, ineffective, destroy land/enviro./society, short term profit for few • Caring for the land is a ‘scared trust’– religion’s role • Evidence for claim- commentary of claims (emotional appeal), suicide, soil destruction Good sources – direct evidence from farmers, statics, experts Solid reasoning – must come to a concrete conclusion after hearing the evidences and claims being made Lecture 2 • Ontology – the nature of being – realism vs. idealism = what exists within the mind and what exist in reality – ideas prevail since it is eternal – this informs us of what we personally see as facts • Positivism – results are repeatable, grounded way of looking at the world, observations should be visible • Social Constructionism – Important of who people preserve the world • Explanations of conclusion – pick an epistemological side to see the world – we often take theory for granted, rather than facts – our understanding of concepts is a theoretical stance – theory allows us to compile out observations • People can hold different views without judgment of evil or good o Not usually about giving the wrong facts o Authoritarian and libertarian is about opinion, so no two options are ‘correct’ • Fascism – one ruler, one leader, ruled by him/her Anarchism – ‘live and let live’ • The conclusions of critical thinking must be reasonable and justifiable. 1. Attitude – must be curious of the topic 2. Pitfalls – avoid faulty logic 3. IdentifyArguments – deductive reasoning (DEFINE) vs. inductive reasoning (DEFINE) 4. Evaluate Source – impossible to be unbiased, but can be minimal bias 5. EvaluateArgument – how credible is the argument? Is it the highest quality? • Geography deals with location, ranging from the world to a lecture class room o Is the atmosphere (physical component) ideal for learning conditions? • Studying places is important because location impacts on our experience o Compare dynamics of place (How is it that Canada and Us build relationships?) o What structures in the environment allow or constrain our movements? Lecture 3 – UnderstandingAgri-Ecosystems Geo then and now • Navigation, exploration, and conquest (power of cartography) • Understanding landscapes (environmental determinism and its critics) • The “quantitative revolution” – rise of science of statistics, and demography • Technological innovation (GIS) • Postmodern geography (place and power – challenge areas of the era such as social systems in terms of think about the importance of language) • Agri-ecosystems are relatively open, human-modified systems that are less diverse than other ecosystems o We ship food all over the word (Energy can be internationally shipped) • Physical environment fundamental to agriculture (environmental determinism), BUT economic, socio- cultural, etc. factors as important in explaining farming systems o We recognize how important the natural environment is when trying to farm o However, method of farming with the same tools vary on each individual • Agriculture: “The active production of useful plants or animals in ecosystems that have been created by people. Agriculture may include cultivating the soil, growing and harvesting crops, and raising livestock” o Edibility – obvious if we cannot consume it, farmers won’t spend the time (profit) o Cultivating the soil, animal husbandry, all activities that we do • Agri-ecosystem: “an ecological and socio-economic system, comprising domesticated plants and/or animals and the people who husband them, intended for the purpose of producing food, fiber, or other agricultural products” • How can we modify constraints to enhance our world? o Solar energy – for photosynthesis (for plants, which are for animas, which are for human protein. Even fossil fuels require solar energy, which allows us to drive cars. In the last century we’re been using up store solar energy that derived from the sun, therefore using up past deposits when the system is more abundant.), for energy, Vitamin D o Water – consumption, and fuel for humans (fresh water only) – about 80% of our body is water – water is no increasing, we refine and reuse the water that is available o Rotate of earth around sun – change of temperature, reduce of solar energy available o Soil (depth, texture, structure, and acidity) Horizon has been disturbed which affect the way plants and trees grow on a particular land (when soil is ripped out of the ground) • The formation of one inch of soil takes approximately 500 years (much variation) o Underlying rock is broken down through physical, chemical, or biological weathering o Factors: climate, organisms, topographical relief, parent material, time • Soil quailty o Sand – does not absorb water o Clay – very dense, does not allow roots to spread/penetrate o Slit – very fine, unable to grow plants • Soil Nutrients o Primary macronutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium o Secondary macronutrients: Calcium, Magnesium, Sulphur o Micronutrients: boron, copper, iron, chloride, manganese, molybdenum, zinc • Lightening plays a role in enriching soil. • Nitrogen circulates within cycle through human/animal wastes • Artificial nutrients comes from chemicals to fill in the gap • We depend of these 5 grains: soya, corn, wheat, barley, rice Constraints Solar energy Temperature Water Soil characteristics and nutrient Biological characteristics HumanAlteration to theAgri-ecosystem • Control energy o Reduce shading (cut down trees) o Increase energy available for photosynthesis, change photo period (grow lights – taking into consideration economic situations)  For example, marijuana will be cost effect to grow under lights, where as corn is not cost effective to grow under a light • Control temperature o Greenhouses, row protection, shading • Control water availability o Irrigation – artificial water drop (Southern California) • Improve quality of soil through ‘soil in a bag’(expensive), add compost(more practical), adding organic material increases soil quality therefore, more ideal for agriculture • Potash – being mined in place of potassium • Diversity of foods change to fit consumer’s preference (such as seedless concord grapes) • We use a lot of fuels to create our foods, which traditionally was by human labor, which takes more energy that has to be found, which is not reusable energy o Trouble managing inputs o Humidity has increased intensely due to irrigations in Okanagan Valley, California Lecture 4 – Concerns for Ecosystem Modification forAgriculture • Problems with modifications regarding agriculture - Water, elevation which constraints temperature - Soil, shading (access to energy), potential downsides of overuse to fertilizers • How much energy is used to get the food that we eat? - Yield is increasing, but energy used for that yield is not efficient (using fossil fuels) • The nitrogen, water, and soil cycle needs to be circular instead of linear for the nutrient to be reused, and recycled into society. These natural resources are not growing, and must be preserved • Erosion – the removal of material from one place and transport toward another by the action of wind or water – these processes happen without human activity and presence, but human can influence (ex. clearing forests) • Dust storm in States in 1930’s when land was not cultivated o Result: dirt came out of the furrows, and ended up on farmer’s houses o Major cause of the great depression, when the farmers had to leave their homes, and crops were not being harvested o Contouring farming can hold more water in the system preventing water erosion o Intercropping – planting different types of crops right beside each other (combine positive characteristics to enhance crop efficiency) • Soil salinization – build up of salt due to extraction of water from ground, farming in conditions that are difficult, but overcoming that problem by using water, salting the soil will not rejuvenate the soil’s natural condition • Fertilizer Runoff – contaminate water systems which has negative effects (creates dead zones, where animal and human survival is inhibited) • Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture o Reduction in crops yields in most areas o Some increase in cultivation in now marginal areas (central Ontario) o Reduced fresh water availability/quality o Sea water inundation • Cultivation (plants) andAgriculture (crops and grazing) • Subsistence farm – are the crops only for farmer’s consumption? - Animal labor? Human labor? - Who does the farm cater to? What kind of buildings are on the farm? • Possession of hunter and gathers were kept minimal Lecture 5 – Issues in ModernAgriculture • Hunter-gathering o “Wild” collection food and fibre o Nomadic – not many possessions • Traditional agriculture (late 1800’s) o Domesticated plants and animals (animals provide on-farm labor) o Sedentary; some specialization • Industrial agriculture o Highly mechanized (fossil fuel); many external inputs; large-scale monoculture o Most farm product for commercial sale (personal consumption) o Animals no longer have any rights, humans treat them as crops • Pest, erosion (not enough that happens that mimics natural environment) o With monoculture, when we only consume one type of crop, there is high potential for genetic issues o Fertilizers are made of fossil fuels, therefore, we indirectly consume some of that fuel • Chemical pesticides (and biological pest controls) o Design to kill pest (poison) resulting in unattended harm to consumers o When pesticide resistance develops, farmers tend to double the dose of pesticide • Loss of pollinators o Honey bees are on a decline o In a feedlot farm, animals don’t look for their food, food is force fed to them o Diseases are spread by exposure to your same kind, farmers prevent this by excessive amount of meat, which is then consumed by humans (clustered, and dirty) • Intensive aquaculture – traditional ways of fishing are being transformed into feedlot style – fish are going to be kept in a tank, and fed for their entire life – habitat loss (esp. shrimps and mangrove) changes the natural environment to add to the artificial habitat • Food miles – eating local food (grown within 500 miles), local self sufficiency – transportation of foods require use of fossil fuels • North Americans rely heavily on fridges, and freezers in relation to their food. • Sustainable agriculture is about maintaining bioculture activity (such as soil, clean water, and crop/lives stock production) • Genetic diversity – we don’t have as much control as we think o Once we narrow genetic diversity, results are mutation, infant mortality rate, serious mental defects • Permaculture community – fields around outside, homes with own chickens – linking human beings closer to agriculture • New supply network – responds to new sustainability of modern networks • Boom in population in the last century or so (modern times, after plague) • Inequality is growing because of climate change (food being used as fuels) o Greater pressure on current agriculture land o Similar pattern between fuel use and hunger o Food-Population Connection: Neo-Malthusian • Populations grow geometrically, agricultural supplies grow (at best) arithmetically • Unchecked population growth unavoidably exceeds the capacity of the environment to handle it, and starvation etc. occurs Food-Population Connection: Neo-Malthusian (Esthera) • Population pressure drives agricultural change, which in turn results in greater food production • Well- fed people with access to education and opportunities have fewer children (demographic transition) Lecture 6 Transition to hunter-gathering (foot loose) • Emersion to feed more people, don’t spend that much time required for sustenance • Environment that are relatively mild • We are successful in creating (breeding) animals that we want with specific characteristics o We started to domesticate animals for pleasure and labor o Also ways to use technology to change the environment (plowing)  Prior, rows were dug by hand, or by testing the seed  Increase ability to clear land (post plowing) o Irrigation – areas lacking water esp. – necessity, increased yields as technology progressed • Monsanto is suggesting that they can double the yield with half the resources o Because they want to do it, and because of the concern and lack of support of genetically modified foods (increase public support for their activity) • we had not seen increase of beneficial gains (vs. technology support for pesticide use, and allowing the long distance sue) • GMO (genetically modified organisms) in food (Percy Simser) o Pros – efficient (productivity, nutrition) – efficient use of resources/inputs – encourages innovation o Cons – concerns about human health risks – genetic contamination – lack of consumer support • Intellectual property – owning an idea • Expanding scope and territorial extent for intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.) • Difficultly with modified seed, cut off their reproductively (not active) • Seed saver – collect and document (capture genetic diversity out there and available) o If there is no incentive to fix seeds, results in replacing the seed (reduces genetic diversity) o In Sweden – seed vault where they have a bomb shelter for seeds, genetic material from all different kinds of plants Food Supply and Food Regimes • Changing geographies of food production • Processes of globalization and industrialization of the food supply system o “degree of purposive functional integration among geographically dispersed activities” (Robinson 1997, pg 44) o Related to development of global fiancé and TNCs → economic and corporate globalization  It wouldn’t be possible to ship products unless there was some type of trade technology was invented (electronic payments) o Partial and contested (not universally)  Resistance to become international (local farmers markets) • Role of Transnational Corporations (TNCs) in the agro-food complex – risen in (food giants) last 50 years at most Food Regimes since 1979 (Incorporate food system from field to fork) Sugar canes would never have been farmed if the period of slaves because no one would want to work under those conditions and pay • Pre-industrial o Tied to colonialism (raw products sent to colonial powers, local hubs) o Spatially extensive (more territory, Europeans start to pinch in their technology)  Take over other people’s areas to meet your own need (expand farming boundaries) Regime: o Few suppliers, producers, wholesalers, processors o Many retailers, and consumers • Industrial o Spatially intensive (more production from same territory) o Productivist (more global food trade) o Rise of food trade Regime: o Few supplies, and retailers o Many producers, wholesalers, processors, and consumers • Post-industrial o Hyper-industrial (more pesticide, more inputs/fertilizers, more modern farming) o Globalized supply chains (trading food around the world is so common now) o Responding to crisis (backlash against industrial paradigm) o Flexible (industrial, but still caters to a variety) • Commodity Chains - supplies: chemical industry (fertilizer) - Producers: farmers - Wholesalers: retailers who take a cut - Processors: changing food to something you think more edible - Retailer: sell to consumers - Consumers: YOU Lecture 7 • “Food chain” – how things get to their last stop (dinner table) – where is most of the profit made? (varies as food regimes fluxs) – who decides quality and what is acceptable? (Consumers, buyers/retailers) Power to be created by tactics (vertical horizo
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