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Human Geography Chapter 9: Food & Agriculture
Terms in this set (59)
Factors of Food Consumption Variation
-Level of Development. People in developed countries tend to consume more food and from different sources than do people in developing countries.
-Physical Conditions. Climate is important in influencing what can be most easily grown and therefore consumed in developing countries. In developed countries, though, food is shipped long distances from locations with different climates.
-Cultural Preferences. Some food preferences and avoidances can best be explained as expressions of culture rather than the result of physical and economic factors.
Dietary Energy Consumption
The amount of food that an individual consumes, measured in kilocalories (Calories in the United States). The average individual needs to consume at least 1,844 kcal a day. Average consumption worldwide is 2,902 kcal per day, but slightly lower in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Dirty Dozen
The 12 most pesticide-contaminated fruits identified by the Department of Agriculture.
According to the United Nations, the physical, social, and economic access at all times to safe and nutritious food sufficient to meet dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Around 10% of the world's inhabitants do not have this.
Dietary energy consumption that is continuously below the minimum requirement for maintaining a healthy life and carrying out light physical activity. Most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The United Nations 803 million people around the world in 2017 to be this, but this used to be 924 million in 2000.
The cost of food. These have been record high as of 2017. In developed countries, competition among supermarkets helps keep them lower. The UN attributes four factors to this recent spike:
-Smaller growth in productivity.
-Use of crops as biofuels instead of food.
A grass that yields grain for food. Most humans derive most of their kilocalories through consumption of this.
The seed of a cereal grass. The three leading crops are wheat, maize (corn), and rice, which all account for 90% of production and 40% of all dietary energy consumed worldwide.
A nutrient needed for growth and maintenance of the human body. In developed countries, the leading source is meat products, including beef, pork, and poultry. In most developing countries, cereal grains provide the largest share of protein.
The deliberate effort to modify a portion of Earth's surface through the cultivation of crops and the raising of livestock for sustenance and economic gain. Its invention has no solid historical origin, but its foundation and diffusion can be traced back to prehistoric times. Scientists agree that it has worldwide hearths in Southwest Asia, East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.
Any plant gathered from a field as a harvest during a particular season.
Hunting & Gathering
A method of obtaining food through hunting for animals, fishing, or gathering plants (such as berries, buts, fruits, and roots). Speculated to be the origin of agriculture by scholars. Food was collected every day, but the amount of time needed for food gathering depended on local conditions. Today, only 250,000 people, or 0.005% of the world population, still survive with this method rather than agriculture.
The process that began when human beings first domesticated plants and animals and no longer relied on hunting and gathering. Geographers and other scientists believe it occurred around 8000 B.C.E. By growing plants and raising animals, human beings created larger and more stable sources of food, so more people could survive. Scientists debate whether it originated from:
-Environmental factors. The first domestication of crops and animals coincided with climate change that marked the end of the last ice age. At that time, permanent ice cover receded from Earth's mid-latitudes to the polar regions, resulting in a massive redistribution of humans, other animals, and plants.
-Cultural factors. A preference for living in a fixed place rather than as nomads may have led hunters and gatherers to build permanent settlements and to store surplus vegetation there. Hunters experimented by cutting plants and dropping berries on the ground to produce new plants, allowing plant cultivation to evolve over the years.
The transfer if plants and animals, as well as people, culture, and technology, between the Western hemisphere and Europe, as a result of European colonization and trade.
Agriculture designed primarily to provide food for direct consumption by the farmer and the farmer's family. Found in developing countries. This form has a higher percentage of workers as farmers and relies on hand-tools and animal power.
Agriculture undertaken primarily to generate products for sale off the farm. Found in developed countries. This form has fewer farmers working in the labor force, uses machinery to perform work, and has large-sized farms spanning several hectares.
A crop that is grown for sale, rather than for the farmer's own use.
A geographer whose work in 1936 identified 11 main agricultural regions, plus an area where agriculture was nonexistent. Five are important in developing countries (intensive subsistence and wet rice dominant, intensive subsistence and wet rice not dominant, pastoral nomadism, shifting cultivation, and plantation), and six that are important in developed countries (mixed crop and livestock, dairy, grain, livestock ranching, Mediterranean, and commercial gardening).
Intensive Subsistence Agriculture
A form of subsistence agriculture characteristic of Asia's major population concentrations in which farmers must expend a relatively large amount of effort to produce the maximum feasible yield from a parcel of land. Comes from the need to produce enough food for survival from a very small area of land because of high agricultural density. Most of the work is done by hand from the lack of funds to buy equipment.
Harvesting twice a year from the same field. Common in places that have warm winters, such as southern China and Taiwan. Normally involves alternating between wet rice, grown in the summer when precipitation is higher, and wheat, barley, or another dry crop, grown in the drier winter season.
The practice of rotating use of different fields from crop to crop each year to avoid exhausting the soil. Common in wet-rice not dominant areas where summer precipitation levels are too low and winters are too harsh.
Rice planted on dry land in a nursery and then moved to a deliberately flooded field to promote growth. Involves four principle steps:
1. The field is prepared, typically using animal power.
2. The field is flooded with water.
3. Rice seedlings grown for the first month in a nursery are transported into the flooded field.
4. Rice plants are harvested with knives. The chaff (husks) is separated from the seeds by threshing (beating) the husks on the ground. The threshed rice is placed in a tray for winnowing, in which the lighter chaff is allowed to be blown away by the wind.
A flooded field for growing rice.
The Malay word for wet rice, increasingly used to describe a flooded field.
A form of subsistence agriculture in which people shift activity from one field to another; each field is used for crops for a relatively few years and left fallow for a relatively long period. Practiced in much of the world's tropical climate regions, which have relatively high temperatures and abundant rainfall. Commonly practiced by people who live in small villages. Its two distinctive features are:
-Slash and burn. Farmers clear land for planting by slashing vegetation and burning the debris; this form is sometimes called slash-and-burn agriculture.
-Frequent Relocation. Farmers grow crops on a cleared field for only a few years, until soil nutrients are depleted, and then leave it fallow (with nothing planted) for many years so the soil can recover.
Some of the crops that are grown include rice, corn, manioc (cassava), millet, and sorghum, depending on local custom and taste. It faces issues such as deforestation and criticisms saying it should be replaced by agricultural practices that are yield more economic crops.
A form of subsistence agriculture based on herding domesticated animals in dry climates, where planting crops is impossible. Recognized as an offshoot of sedentary agriculture. These farmers depend on animals rather than crops for survival. The animals provide milk, and their skins and hair are used for clothing and tents. This form of agriculture is declining because of technological advancements and government control limiting movement.
Seasonal migration of livestock between mountain and lowland pasture area. Pasture is grass or other plants grown for feeding grazing animals as well as land used for grazing. Sheep or other animals may pasture in alpine meadows in the summer and be herded back down into valleys for winter pasture.
A large farm in tropical and subtropical climates that specializes in the production of one or two crops for sale, usually to a more developed country. Mostly located in the tropics and subtropics. These used to be important in the US until the Civil War where cotton was produced by African slaves.
The capture of wild fish and other seafood living in the waters.
The cultivation of seafood under controlled conditions.
Capturing fish faster than they can reproduce. It has reduced the population of tuna and swordfish by 90% in the past half-century.
Commercial agriculture characterized by the integration of different steps in the food-processing industry, usually through ownership by large corporations.
The practice of growing the same single crop year after year. Wheat is the most important crop grown because it can be sold for a higher price than other grains and has more uses as a human food.
A form of agriculture present in lands that border the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. The sea's winds provide moisture and moderate the winter temperatures. Summers are hot and dry, but sea breezes provide some relief.
The growing of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and tree crops. Present in Mediterranean lands, these crops are grown for human consumption rather than for animal feed. The two most important cash crops are olives and grapes.
Commercial (or Market) Gardening and Fruit Farming
Relatively small-scale production of fruits, vegetables, and other horticulture. The predominant type of agriculture in the Southeastern United States. This region has a long growing season and humid climate, and is accessible to the large number of consumers in the Northeast United States.
Commercial gardening and fruit farming, so named for the Middle English word truck, meaning "barter" or "exchange of commodities."
A form of commercial agriculture in which livestock graze over an extensive area. Conducted in several developing countries besides the United States and, increasingly, in developing countries. Because of this, China is now the world's leading meat producer.
A form of commercial agriculture that specializes in the production of milk and other dairy products. These farms must be closer to their markets to other products because milk is highly perishable. Economic difficulties arise from its distinctive features:
-Labor-intensive. Cows must be milked twice a day, every day; although the actual milking can be done by machines, dairy farming nonetheless requires constant attention throughout the year.
Winter Feed. Farmers face the expense of feeding the cows in the winter, when they may be unable to graze on grass.
The area surrounding a city from which milk can be supplied without spoiling.
Mixed Crop and Livestock Farming
Commercial farming characterized by integration of crops and livestock; most of the crops are fed to animals rather than consumed directly by humans. This allows farmers to distribute the workload more evenly through the year.
Johann Heinrich von Thünen
An estate owner in northern Germany. His model explains the importance of proximity to market in the choice of crops on commercial farms. He found that specific crops were grown in different rings around the cities in the area.
-First ring. Market-oriented gardens and milk producers were located in the first ring out from the cities. These products are expensive to deliver and must reach the market quickly because they are perishable.
-Second ring. The next ring out from the cities contained wood lots, where timber was cut for construction and fuel; closeness to market is important for this commodity because of its weight.
-Third ring. The next ring was used for various crops and for pasture; the specific commodity was rotated from one year to the next.
-Fourth ring. The outermost ring was devoted exclusively to animal grazing, which requires lots of space.
Trade Challenges for Developing Countries
To expand production, subsistence farmers need higher-yield seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, and machinery. Some needed supplies can be secured by trading food with urban dwellers. However, subsistence farmers lack the money to buy agricultural equipment and materials from developed countries. The sale of export crops brings a developing country foreign currency, a portion of which can be used to buy agricultural supplies. But governments in developing countries face a dilemma: The more land that is devoted to growing export crops, the less that is available to grow crops for domestic consumption.
A drug, such as heroin, derived from the opium poppy plant. An example of drug conversion from export crops grown in developing countries.
An increase in the percentage of the number of people living in urban settlements. The expansion of these areas has contributed to reducing agricultural land. The state with the most endangered agricultural land is Maryland.
Degradation of land, especially in semiarid areas, primarily because of human actions such as excessive crop planting, animal grazing, and tree cutting. Also known as semiarid land degradation.
Second Agricultural Revolution
An increase in agricultural productivity through improvement of crop rotation and breeding of livestock, beginning in the United Kingdom in the 1600's. This helped to feed the rapidly growing population in countries in stage 2 of the demographic transition during the 1800's.
An approach to subsistence farming in order to provide enough food for a rapidly increasing population as well as for the growing number of urban residents who cannot grow their own food. First identified by economist Ester Boserup. Farmers achieve this by adopting new farming methods, with the additional labor needed coming from the population growth. Also, land is left fallow for shorter periods. This expands the amount of land area
Rapid diffusion of new agricultural technology, especially new high-yield seeds and fertilizers. Began with the invention of the "miracle wheat seed," which was less sensitive to variation in day length, responded better to fertilizers, and matured faster. Scientists also identified Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium as the three crucial elements that improve fertility.
Genetically Modified Organism, GMO
A living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology. GMO seeds are genetically modified to survive when herbicides and insecticides are sprayed on fields to kill weeds and insects. While the US favors these, Africa opposes them because of health problems, export problems, and an increased dependence on the United States. While countries like Europe and China require labels for these, the United States is divided on whether labels are necessary.
A substance injected into healthy livestock that promotes the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These can be injected to increase an animal's weight or make them grow faster. Public health officials fear that the use in animals promotes the development of hard-to-treat resistant superbugs that make people sick. As a result, the practice was banned in Europe in 2006 and in the United States in 2017.
Farming that depends on the use of naturally occurring substances while prohibiting or strictly limiting synthetic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and growth hormones. GMO seeds are not used here, and livestock animals consume crops grown on the farm and are free to roam.
A chemical to control unwanted plants.
A substance to control pests, including weeds.
A method of soil cultivation that reduces soil erosion and runoff. Useful for preventing field damage from too much precipitation in the US Midwest; heavy rains can wash away the protective layer of high-quality top soil and deposit it in bodies of water.
A farming practice that leaves all of the soil undisturbed and the entire residue of the previous year's harvest left untouched on the fields.
A system of planting crops on ridge tops in order to reduce farm production costs and promote greater soil conservation.
Because of California's dependence on water to grow 1/3 of the US's vegetables and 2/3 of fruits and nuts, supplies have been limited in recent years. California's limited water supply comes from:
-Surface water, which is water that travels or gathers on the ground, such as in rivers, streams, and lakes. The percentage of the state's water from surface water dropped from 70% to 40%.
-Groundwater, which is water that is pumped out from the ground.
Principles of action by the government that have aimed to improve the financial position of farmers:
-Farmers are encouraged to avoid crops that are in excess supply. Because soil erosion is a constant threat, the government encourages planting fallow crops, such as clover, to restore nutrients to the soil and to help hold the soil in place.
-The government pays farmers when certain commodity prices are low. The government sets a target price for a commodity and pays farmers the difference between the price they receive in the market and the target price set by the government as a fair level for the commodity. The target prices are calculated to give farmers the same price for the commodity today as in the past, when compared to other consumer goods and services.
-The government buys surplus production and sells or donates it to foreign governments. In addition, low-income Americans receive food stamps in part to stimulate their purchase of additional food.
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