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Wheat. Bridge McKye. Origins. Fertile Crescent Iraq, Syria, Israel, Jordan and Egypt Originally gathered as a wild grass Stone Age: Rocks used to grind wheat berries into flour 5,000 year old loaves of bread from Egypt. Agriculture. Cultivation of wheat began in 7,800 BC

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  1. Wheat Bridge McKye

  2. Origins • Fertile Crescent • Iraq, Syria, Israel, Jordan and Egypt • Originally gathered as a wild grass • Stone Age: Rocks used to grind wheat berries into flour • 5,000 year old loaves of bread from Egypt

  3. Agriculture • Cultivation of wheat began in 7,800 BC • People began to domesticate wild wheat and cross different varieties • Wheat begins to spread • Southeastern Europe by 6,000 BC • Europe, Central Asia, India, and Africa by 3,000 BC • Americas in 1492 with Columbus

  4. History and Technology • First millstones in 5,500 BC • Bread ovens by 3,300 BC • Yeast in bread • Animal power for milling used by the Romans in 200 BC • Sieves to filter flour- for pure bread • Water mills appeared 2,000 years ago

  5. Lifestyle Changes • Domesticated wheat led to a sedentary lifestyle • Cities • Art, religion, science, education, literature • Societies began to evolve around wheat • Higher populations need higher wheat yields, leads to pushes for technology

  6. Industrial Revolution • Crop rotations become more common • Wheat, beans, root crops, fallow • Technology and warm weather produce more reliable yields • First machine applied to wheat production • Automated seed drill

  7. 19th Century • Transition from round loaves to rectangular loaves • Separating components of flour • Whole wheat flour-more nutritious • White flour-doesn’t spoil as easily

  8. Industrialization • After WWII • Agro-chemicals • Crop Breeding • Mechanization • Tractors for planting, fertilizing, applying pesticides • Threshers • Transported by train • Stored in grain elevators • Increase in global trade

  9. Green Revolution • Promoted high yielding, industrialized wheat in developing nations • U.S. appeared to be acting on humanitarian concerns, but was really acting out of self-interest • Focus on breeding certain qualities into wheat • High yields • High quality • Drought and disease resistance • Weather resistant

  10. Green Revolution • Wheat production was boosted in India, China, and Mexico as well as more developed countries such as Britain and even the U.S. • Along with increased wheat yields came many environmental problems • Increased wheat production led to wheat being dumped on foreign markets

  11. Wheat Production Today • 3rd in world production • 2000: 21 billion bushels on 520 million acres • Provides 16% of calories in developing areas • 36% from Asia, 17% from Europe, 16% from North America • China is first in world wheat production followed by India and the U.S. • Subsidized in many countries

  12. Wheat Production Today • Wheat production is perennial and it is being harvested somewhere every month • Can be grown in harsh, wind swept environment that are too cold for rice or corn • 90% of wheat in industrialized nations is rain fed • About half is irrigated in developing nations • High amount of fertilizer used in these areas • 90% of wheat grown worldwide is bread wheat

  13. Crop Disease • Scab • Attacks the head of the grain • Produces shriveled, bleached grains • Can cause health problems in humans and animals • Rust • Responsible for the biggest wheat pandemic in the U.S. • Produces red pustules on the plant

  14. Environmental Concerns • Water pollution and overuse • Chemical runoff and irrigation • Soil degradation • Erosion • Fertility Loss • Deforestation • Habitat Loss • Loss of biodiversity • Fossil fuel dependence

  15. Health Concerns • Celiac Disease • Autoimmune disorder that attacks the villi of the small intestine • Nutrients not absorbed • Triggered by gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley • 300 Symptoms • Anemia, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue • Can appear at any age • No cure, must eat a gluten free diet

  16. Wheat and Diet • Whole wheat perceived as healthy in the U.S. • Atkins diet suggests eating as few carbohydrates and wheat products as possible • Wheat is an ingredient in hundreds of foods • Bread, crackers, cakes and cookies, pasta, tortillas, breakfast cereals • Wheat has more protein than corn or rice

  17. Wheat and Culture • Important to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Chinese • Often associated with life forces and fertility • Today Germany has the greatest variety of breads in the world • Different countries are known for different breads

  18. Wheat and Culture • Wheat and Christianity • Key part of The Eucharist • “Give us this day our daily bread” • Many references to bread in daily language • Bread basket • Bread winner • Bread=money • Companion: Latin for “with bread”

  19. Gender Roles • Men • Apply chemicals, manure, fertilizer • Spade work • Sow the seeds • Uproot the seedlings • Market the grain

  20. Gender Roles • Women • Transplanting • Storage • Weeding • Threshing • Grinding the grain and cooking

  21. Genetic Modification • Many markets are opposed to G.M wheat • Cross contamination • Monocrops • Transnational corporations • Health concerns • Expensive, little benefit for farmers • Increased pest resistence

  22. Sustainable Wheat? • Protecting the soil, water, biodiversity, community • Need more community based, supported production • Organic is a step in the right direction

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