13 terms


Columbian Exchange
Def: The exchange of plants, animals &
diseases between the newly arriving
Europeans in the late 15th century & the
• Sig: An example of crop diffusion
(colonialism, conquest & trade).
Commodity Chains
Def: A network or process where firms
gather resources, process them and then
distribute the finished goods to consumers.
• Sig: Agribusiness employs all three
economic sectors to get food to our tables.
Crop Rotation
The practice of rotating use of different
fields from crop to crop each year to avoid
exhausting the soil.
-Part of the second agricultural revolution; it
increases yield and self-fertilizes.
Double/Multi Cropping
Two or more harvests a year from the same
fields in succession (without leaving fields
-Significance: some Vietnam rice paddies
produce three yields of rice per year due to
Economies of Scale
Def: The savings in cost per unit due to
increasing the level of production (think
• Sig: Agribusiness produces cheaper crops
and finished goods than traditional farming,
in part, because they produce at a large
factory farms
Def: technique of capital intensive
animal-raising in an artificial
environment for meat, dairy or eggs.
Sig: the lack of space is argued by
many to be inhumane and unhealthy
Fair Trade
Def: Trade in which fair prices (higher than
usual) are paid to the producers of
commodities in developing countries.
• Ex: Fair trade coffee & chocolate gives
more money to the local farmers of Central
or South America and West Africa.
Genetically Modified Food
Def: Plants whose genetic characteristics have
been altered through recombinant DNA
technology (higher yields & less need for
Ex. Salmon DNA added to Tomato DNA to battle
Green Revolution (Third)
Def: the diffusion of higher yielding
(cross-bred & hybridized) crops and
techniques (chemical fertilizers, etc.) to the
Sig: Diffused commercial agriculture &
later GMOs (miracle rice, miracle wheat) to
the periphery.
industrial agriculture
Def: a process where farming is integrated
with other processes such as production,
storage, processing, distribution, marketing
& retailing (i.e. combines the primary,
secondary and tertiary sectors)
Sig: it has increased mechanization,
innovation of inputs (GMO & pesticides)
and the use of processed substitutes
Ridge Tillage
Def: planting on the
ridge without having
to re-till each year
• Sig: conserves soil &
fights weeds by
leaving crop residue
from previous harvest
Second Agricultural Revolution
Def: improvements made during the
middle ages through the 1800s in
Ex: crop rotation, field drainage,
mechanization & fertilization
Tragedy of the commons
a situation in which individuals, acting in
their own self-interest, will ultimately
deplete a shared limited resource
• Sig: rationale for private property &
enclosure laws