Agriculture Where did agriculture originate? What does von Thunen’s Model say about agriculture? What problems do farmers face? What are some ethical issues in farming? Why do people starve? How do we fix things in the future?
Where did agriculture originate? • Agriculture- the deliberate modification of Earth’s surface through cultivation of plants and rearing of animals to obtain sustenance or economic gain. • Before ag, humans existed through hunting and gathering, meaning the collection of food on a daily basis. About 250,000 people still engage in hunting and gathering; these people live in isolated areas of the Arctic, Africa, Australia, and S. America. • The first form of agriculture • vegetative planting- the reproduction of plants, • seed agriculture- the reproduction of plants through annual planting of seeds,
Origins of Agriculture Which of these areas are considered cultural hearths?
Von Thunen’s Model The basic premise is that the more perishable and difficult to ship something, the closer it will be to the market.
Technical and Resource Limitation Problems • Heavy Use of Fresh Water • High Dependence on Technology and Machinery Provided/Sold by Core Countries • Heavy Use of Pesticides and Fertilizer (and associated pollution and waste) • Reduced Genetic Diversity / Increased Blight Vulnerability • Questionable Overall Sustainability
Ethical Issues • Starvation of many prevented, but extra food may lead to higher birth rates. • Life expectancy in less developed countries increased by 10 years in less than two decades (43 in 1950’s to 53 in 1970’s). • Dependency on core countries increased; rich-poor gap increased. • Wealthy farmers and multinational companies do well, small farmers become wage laborers or unemployed. • More at risk? More people malnourished/starving today than in 1950 (but lower as a percentage). • U.S. spends $10,000,000,000 year on farm subsidies, damaging farmers and markets in LDCs.
Why do people starve • Drought/desertification • Warfare • The army marches on its stomach • Food preferences/ cultural practices • India • Delivery systems • Politics • North Korea
Future Challenges • World Population Expected to Increase to 10-12 Billion Before Stabilizing • Food Production Already Exerting Extreme Environmental Pressures • 25% of All Greenhouse Gas Release in U.S. is from Agriculture. That’s more than all transport. • Much Soil is Already Badly Damaged • Developed Countries Still Undermining 3rd World Agriculture with Subsidies and Taxes
Strategies for increasing food supply • Expand the land area used for agriculture • Increase the productivity of land now used (i.e. green revolution) • Identify new food sources • Increase exports from other countries