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Golden Rice

gene from daffodil added to allow for beta carotene production and increased vitamin A nutrition for people in developing countries

Food Security

every person in a given area has access to enough nutritious food to have an active and healthy life


diet is deficient in protein, calories or other key nutrients


needed in large amounts to remain healthy; ex: protein, carbohydrates, fats/lipids


needed in smaller amounts to remain healthy; ex: vitamins and minerals

Chronic Undernutrition / Hunger

not being able to grow or buy enough food to meet ones basic energy needs


widespread food shortage accompanied by an increase in the death rate


food energy intake exceeds energy use and causes body fat to accumulate


amount of a crop or food item that is harvested per unit area; ex: how many tons of fish are harvested per hectare; how many bushels of corn are harvested per hectare

Industrialized Agriculture / High Input Agriculture

uses large amounts of fossil fuel energy, water, commercial fertilizers, and pesticides to produce single crops (monocultures) and livestock for sale/profit

Plantation Agriculture

type of industrialized agriculture common in tropical developing countries where cash crops are grown on large monoculture plantations

Cash Crops

typically grown on plantation style farms in tropical developing countries; ex: bananas, coffee, cocoa, sugarcane, soybeans, peanuts, vegetables

Feedlots / Animal Factories

common in industrialized agriculture when raising livestock; high density areas of animals raised while using high amounts of energy and water and creating dense areas of animal waste


industrialized farming in the U.S.; giant multinational corporations control the growing, processing, distribution, and sale of food in the U.S. and in the global marketplace; ex: Monsanto, Tyson

Traditional Subsistence Agriculture

uses moslty human and animal labor to produce only enough food for a farm family

Traditional Intensive Agriculture

increased inputs in labor, fertilizer, water to obtain higher yields and produce enough extra food to sell for profit


growing several crops on the same plot of land simultaneously

Polyvarietal Cultivation

type of interplanting; planting a plot with several genetic varieties of the same crop


type of interplanting; two or more different crops are grown at same time on same plot

Agroforestry / Alley Cropping

type of interplanting; crops and trees or shrubs are grown together


type of interplanting; many different plants are grown together


one type of crop (typically same genetic variety) grown on large expanses of land


A-Horizon of soil profile; most important horizon of soil for crop production; easily eroded away by overcultivation

Soil Erosion

movement of soil components (especially surface litter and topsoil) by wind or water

Sheet Erosion

surface water or wind peel off thin sheets or layers of soil

Rill Erosion

fast-moving little rivulets of surface water make small channels in the soil

Gully Erosion

rivulets of fast-moving water join together and cut wider deeper ditches or gullies

1985 Food Security Act

also called "Farm Act"; farmers receive a subsidy for taking highly erodible land out of production and planting it with soil saving grass or trees for 10-15 years


productive potential of drylands falls by 10% due to natural climate change or overcultivation of the soils and degradation of topsoil


soil becomes more salty due to irrigation; irrigation water contains trace minerals and salts that are left behind daily as water evaporates and over time soil becomes salty


happens due to overirrigation in an attempt to leach salts from soil; causes soil to be saturated with water and water table levels may actually rise

Soil Conservation

any measure aimed at using soil in a more sustainable way so that the topsoil will not be eroded or degraded

Conservation-Tillage Farming

type of soil conservation and BMP; also called no-till farming; soil is sliced open and new crop is planted without tilling and loosening the soil


growing food on steep slopes by creating flat terraced areas across the slope of the land

Contour Farming

plowing and planting crops in rows going across the slope of the land

Strip Cropping

alternating strips of a row crop like corn or cotton with another crop that covers the ground like a grass or grass-legume mixture

Cover Crops

planting a crop to remain on soil throughout the growing season (even during winter) to hold soil in place

Windbreaks / Shelterbelts

trees planted around crops to reduce wind and soil erosion

Organic Fertilizer

anything that supplements the soils nutrients and comes from natural plant or animal products

Commercial Inorganic Fertilizer

man-made substances comprised of various minerals and nutrients used to supplement the soil

Animal Manure

dung and urine of various animals and livestock used to supplement soil

Green Manure

freshly cut or growing green vegetation plowed into soil


produced when microorganisms in soil break down organic material like leaves, food waste, paper and wood in presence of oxygen

Crop Rotation

farmers plant nutrient depleting crops one year (like corn) and then alternate with by planting legumes the next year so that they can fix nitrogen and add nitrogen back to the soil

Green Revolution

has allowed increase in yields since 1950's mainly due to high-yield monocultures, increased use of fertilizers, irrigation and pesticides

Second Green Revolution

mainly aimed at developing countries with tropical climates; fast growing dwarf varieties of rice developed to be used in places like India and China


world's genetic variety of animals and plants

Cross Breeding

using artificial selection to mix varieties of plants and/or animals to develop new varieties of crops and livestock with beneficial traits

Genetically Modified Food (GMF)

splicing gene from one species and inserting it into another species to improve the quality of a food crop or food item

Gene Revolution

a third green revolution where focus is on genetic engineering of foods and development of GMF's to increase yield or crop productivity


concentrations of particular aquatic species suitable for commercial harvesting in a given ocean or inland body of water


raising marine and freshwater fish in ponds and underwater cages instead of going out to gather them

Fish Farming

cultivating fish in a controlled environment and harvesting when they reach a desired size

Fish Ranching

holding anadromous species, (like salmon) that live part of life in freshwater and part of life in saltwater, in captivity for first years of life; fish are released and then harvested when they come back to spawn


any unwanted organism that does ecomomic damage


any chemical that can kill unwanted organisms that are doing economic damage


type of pesticide that kills insects


type of pesticide that kills plants


type of pesticide that kills fungi


type of pesticide that kills rodents like mice and rats

Broad-Spectrum Agents

pesticides that are not selective and kill a wide range of organisms - often kill non-targeted organisms

Selective / Narrow-Spectrum Agents

pesticides that kill a specific pest or small number of specific pests


how long a chemical or pesticide remains in the environment before being broken down into less harmful substances or chemicals; ex: DDT had a high persistence which allowed it to bioaccumulate and then biomagnify up the food chain and cause the decline of many predatory bird species like the bald eagle


U.S. Deparment of Agriculture


Food and Drug Adminisration


Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act; law that requires pesticides be tested and approved to determine their environmental and human health risks; only 10% of pesticides have gone through this testing/approval process

Food Quality Protection Act

requires the EPA to reduce the allowed levels of pesticide residues on food by a factor of 10 when there is inadequate information on the potentially harmful effects on children

Biological Pest Control

control of pest populations by natural predators, parasites, or disease-causing bacteria and viruses (pathogens)


Integrated Pest Management; using a combination of various pest control strategies to reduce a pest population; pesticides can be used but are usually used as a last resort and small doses of selective/narrow-spectrum agents

100 Percent Organic

food must be produced without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, genetic modification


at least 95% of the ingredients must be organic and 100% natural

Organic Meat

animals raised on organic feed, no steroids or growth hormones given, antibiotics only given to treat disease, must have access to outdoors

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