16 January - 22 January
Jan 16/18: How do industrial food production and biotechnology change the way
1) CA pp.52-53 (Producing Potato Calories)
• Page 52
• John h bodley compares the production of sweet potatoes in New Guinea with potato
protections in United States.
• If new Guinea People cultivate sweet potatoes by slash and burn agriculture; plots of land
or burn, cleared, and planted when digging sticks.
Crops are ready, sweet potatoes are cooking pits and eaten.
• Some sweet potatoes are fed to pigs, that’s producing proteins and accounting for an even
more. proportion in their diet
• these people use only 10% of the arable land, and there is no danger of resource
• With their agriculture techniques, the New Guinea farmers can produce about 5,000,000
cal per acre
• Potato Farms in Canada and the US produce more than twice as many calories per acre
as New Guinea farmers.
• However, in addition to the human energy that goes into North American farming, vast
amounts of nonhuman energy expended
Chemicals must be inside you can suppositions and to control insects and fungus.
• US potato farmers need specialized machines the cut, seed, harvest, dates, and plant
• While the US is to produce more potatoes, actual energy cost per calorie were lower and
New Guinea [pesticides fertilizers etc.]
• Page 53
• Moreover, all kinds of hidden costs and consequences such as soil erosion and pollution
were incurred in the United States
• People in Canada and United States also deal with distribution costs, which are minimal
and traditional cultures, where most households consume what they produce.
• The energy expended in distributing this is now exceeds the energy expended in
producing • The manufacturing distribution of farm machinery, trucks, and fertilizers; irrigated project;
food processing; packaging; transportation; manufacturing of trucks; industrial and
domestic food preparation; and refrigeration-US food industry expense 8 to 12 cal of
energy to produce a single calorie of food
• Bodley suggest that the reason that the United States expensive much energy to produce
food is to make money [Western agricultural techniques are wasteful and inefficient]
• To produce potato chips is wasteful and full of chemicals
• thus the human and nonhuman energy required to convert a potato potato chips for
greater than energy expended in New Guinea to produce more nutritiously potato
2) Nietschmann, Bernard. 2000. “When the Turtle Collapses, the World Ends.” In
Nutritional Anthropology. Alan H. Goodman, Darna L. Darfour and Gretel H. Pelto.
Mountainview, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company: 287-292.
• Green turtles caught by Miskito Indian turtlemen off the eastern coast of Nicaragua are destined for
• Their butchered bodies will pass through many hands, local and foreign, ending up in tins, bottles
• Their meat, leather, shell, oil, calliope and gelatinous substance that is the base for turtle soup, will
be used to produce goods consumed in more affluent parts of the world
• Coastal Miskito Indians are dependent on green turtles
• Most important link between livelihood, social interaction and environment, green turtles were the
pivotal rescue around which traditional Miskito Indian society revolved
• Large reptiles also provided major source of protein for miskito substance
• Priceless and limited resource has become a prized commodity that is being exploited almost
entirely for economic reasons
• In the past, turtles fulfilled nutritional needs as well as the social responsibilities of miskito society
• Today, however, the miskito depend mainly on the sale of turtles to provide them with e money they
ned to purchase household goods and other necessities
• Turtles are declining resource
The cultural control mechanisms that once adapted the miskito to their environment and fannual
resources are now circumvented or inoperative, and hey are caught up in a a system of canted
intensification of turtle fishin, which threatens to provide neither cash nor substance
• The Coastal Miskito Indians are among the worlds most adept small craft seamen and turtle men
• Their traditional subsistence system provided dependable yield from judicious scheduling of
resource procurement activities • Agriculture, hunting, fishing and gathering were organized in accordance with seasonal fluctuations
in weather and resurrect availability and provided adequate amounts of food and materials without
overexploiting any one species or site
• Women cultivated the crops while men hunted and fished
• Turtle fishing was the backbone of subsistence, providing meant through out the year
• Historical circumstances and a series of booming bust economic cycles disrupted the Miskto’s
society and environment
• The 16th and 18th centuries, intermittent trade with English and French buccaneers--based on the
exchange of forest and marine resources for metal tools and utensils, well, and firearms-prompted
Miskito to extend hunting, fishing, and gathering beyond substance needs to explorative
• 19th and early 20th century, foreign-owned companies operating in eastern Nicaragua exported
rubber, lumber, gold and initiated commercial banana production.
Economic and ecological influences were intensified, contract wage labor replace seasonal, short-
term economic relationship; company commissaries the place limited trade goods; and large-scale
exploitation of natural resources replace sporadic selective extraction.
• During economic boom periods the relationship between resources, substance, and environment
was drastically altered by the culture
• Resources become a commodity with a price on the market exploitation of livelihood, foreign wages
and goods and necessity.
• Relationship between culture and English was based on sea turtles for 200 years
• See turtles were among the first resources involved in trade relations and foreign commerce in the
Reported catches of green turtles by the Cayman turtlers generally ranged between 2000 and 3000
a year up to the early 1960s, when the Nicaraguan government failed to renew the islanders fishing
• Intensive resource extraction by foreign companies lead to serious completed and altered
environments. 1940s many of the economic booms have turned to bust.
• As for the resources run out and operating costs mountain company shut down production and
moved to other areas and Central America.
• Economic mainstays that have helped provide the culture with jobs, currency, markets, and foreign
goods were gone.
• Money became scares and store-bought items expensive
• In the backwater of the passing Golden boom, the culture were left when ethic of poverty
• Page 289
• Their land and water environment was still capable of providing reliable resources for local
• turtle fishing became a way of life. • The traditional substances, culture you could no longer integrate Miskito society and environment
in a state of equilibrium
Resources for now. Having a value and labor the price. All that was needed was a market
• Two foreign turtle companies began operations along the East Coast to compete
• Significance between the spelling previews one was that the Miskito were now selling a substance
As a result, the last lecture driving green turtle population in the Caribbean was open to the
intensive, almost year-round exploitation.
• Paradoxically, it would be the Miskito Indians, who once caught only what they needed for food,
who would conduct the assault on the remaining population.
• 200 miles away see turtle conservation and protection of Caribbean last major sea turtle nesting
• Conservation program is for the survival of endangered species for commercial exploitation a
• The turtles precise, commtuerlike behaviour between sleeping and feeding areas as well known to
the Miskito and helps ensure good turtle hunting
• Each coastal turtling village exploits and immerse area, containing many turtle banks and shoals
• Having rather predictable patterns of movement and habit preference, green turtle are commonly
caught by the Miskito in three ways: on the turtle thanks with harpoons; along the shoal to feeding
area rooms with harpoons; and on the soles using nets, which entangled the turtles when they
surface for air.
• Successful turtling with harpoons requires an extensive knowledge of turtle behaviour and habits
and tremendous skill and experience in handling a small canoe and what can be very rough seas
• Page 290
• Turtle man work and partnerships: striker man in the boat; Capt. In the Stern.
• Traditionally, not all Misktio were sufficiently expert in seamanship and turtle lore to become
respected striker men not capable of securing turtles even during hazardous conditions
• Turtle harpooning is a dying art, the dominant method of turtle leave today is the use of nets
• This simple technological change, along with the market demand for turtles, has resulted intensified
pressure on green turtle populations.
• Catching turtles would not require little skill; anyone with a canoe can now be a turtle man
• Younger miskito take on tradition learning where to set the nuts, retire for the night, remove the
entangled turtles next morning, and reset the next.
• The outcomes predictable: more turtle man, using more effective methods, catch more
• Increased dependence on turtles of the source of income and greater time inputs have meant
disruption of substance agriculture and hunting and fishing • No longer produce food stuffs for themselves; they buy imported foods with money gained from the
sales of turtles.
• Caught between contradictory priorities – their traditional substance system and the market
economy – the Misktio are opting for cash
The mikito now developed into positive feedback system where change sponsor change.
• Coastal villages rely on turtles for livelihood.
• Decline of substance provides and has led to the need to secure food from local shopkeepers on
credit to feed the families in the village and the men during their turtle expeditions.
• Page 291
Burdened by over dependence on endangered species with accumulating debts for food and next,
the mosquito are finding it increasingly difficult to break even, much less secure a profit – with out
other economic alternatives, the inevitable step is to use more net and stay out at sea longer.
• Returning to their villages, turttleman are confronted with a complex dilemma: how to satisfy both
social and economic demands with a limited resource --to share among family or be sold the
personal economic game
• So 70 to 90% of turtles they catch
Causes social tension and friction
• Individuals too old or sick to provide for themselves often received little money or meat from
• Families without taking advantage of that money on access to meat--nuclear families operating for
their own economic game
• Poor diets for villagers
• Page 292
• Now depend on outside system to supply them with money and materials that are subject to work
market fluctuations as well as imports of food
• Lost autonomy and adaptive relationship with her environment
• So dependent on turtle population for income
• Well turtle fishing for substance should be permitted, exportation of sea turtle part of using the
gourmet, cosmetic, or jewelry trade should be banned
• Government doesn’t have time to review these policies
3) Mack, Debbie. 2000. “Food for All.” In Nutritional Anthropology. Alan H. Goodman,
Darna L. Darfour and Gretel H. Pelto. Mountainview, CA: Mayfield Publishing
• P.292 - food for all • 5 million Brazilians faced starvation this year bc drought in El Nino that halved
grain crops in the northeast of the country
• Monsanto (worlds largest suppliers of genetically modified seeds) invest 550
million in brazil to build a factory producing its herbicide roundup
• Shortly afterwards the brazilian government made monsanto’s roundup-resisted
soya beans the country first legally approved genetically engineered crop.
• Soya bean will boost profits for the big landowners who grow them to feed beed
cattle for export
• (most rural brazalians are subsistence farmers who do not grow soya so no help
will trickle down from monsanto beans to the starving millions)
• ^^ presents the limited contribution genetically modified crops have made so far to
eradicating world hunger
• Brazil and other newly industrializing countries are in fact targets for biotech
companies, with their growing demand for agricultural products, little opposition to
biotechnology and farmers who have risen above hard graft subsistence, but we
have not yet become customers of the worlds seed and agrochemicals
• But critics say engineered crops developed or in the pipeline will only benefit rich
farmers, not the needy
• They fear the biotech industry increasing domination of crop research will hurt, not
help the poor
• A simple redistrubution of what we grow now will not feed the 10 billion humans
expected by 2030
• Agriculture does need a technological saviour
• The biggest opportunity for increasing grain yields is to produce varieties more
precisely adapted to local conditions
Yet few of these crops have emerged so far-- those near market aim to increase
farmers profits by cutting expensive inputs provides little help to farmers who can
afford no inputs to begin with
• Steven briggs points to several innovations in the pipeline which insight which
might help : fodder crops that contain more calories, so more meat can be
produced per hectare of corn or soy; crops that destroy toxins produced by moulds • Crops that thrive despite drought and salty soils could also let farmer expand
production into marginal lands
• Buy Out
Biotech companies think genetic engineering will be in the best position to help
once farmers everywhere switch from small scale subsistence to large scale
• But the high price of technology could allow the few farmers who can afford it to
outcompete their poorer neighbours and eventually buy them out, driving people
from the land
Any technology that increases a farmers profits or reduces the labour needed per
hectare will cause the farmer to cut down trees to get more land
• If only rich farmers benefit their expansion would tend to push poorer farmers into
• New biotechnologies threaten to aggravate problems of genetic uniformity and
increase the dependance of farmers on transitional corporations
The handful of modified varieties offered by biotech companies will inevitably be
more genetically uniform, hence more susceptible to unforeseen stress, than the
plethora of classically bred varieties grown now
• That problem could be worse in the tropics, where there is more existing crop
diversity together with stresses that seed breeder based in the north may not have
anticipated and they will also have less money to pay for multinationals for the
rights to incorporate proprietary genes into several local varieties
• The last problem stems from the big companies growing control of both markets
and plant genes--crop scientists must continually breed new crop varieties to meet
the ever evolving threats of pests and disease
• Public sector breeders are loosing funding while big companies are rapidly
becoming only source for improved varieties
P.294 - losing access
• The public breeders are also loosing access to plant genes bc too expensive due
• Even if third world breeders get access to patented genes, they may be forced to
protect them in ways that put them out of reach for the poor
• Terminator gene keeps a plant from producing viable seeds so farmers cannot
save seed from patented for next harvest • Overall effect could be that breeders will not be able to create new varieties to
meet evolving threats unless they pay fore the genes and couple them with
technologies to prevent the saving of seed (therefore fewer and more expensive
varieties plus increased cost for poor farmers)
• As big northern companies expand their control of crop genes, their choice may be
to buy seed or die.
Film: Food, Inc.
Tutorial: Review of General Assignment Information and Assignme