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Food and Agriculture. Wednesday, April 2, 2014. Outline. Food Riddles Ethanol GMOs Organic v Non-Organic. OIL. Riddle 1 I exist, but I can’t be made. China is using more of me than ever before. Canada is wondering how to replace me. Pineapples and bananas need me to get to you.

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food and agriculture

Food and Agriculture

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Food Riddles
  • Ethanol
  • GMOs
  • Organic v Non-Organic
  • Riddle 1
  • I exist, but I can’t be made.
  • China is using more of me than ever before.
  • Canada is wondering how to replace me.
  • Pineapples and bananas need me to get to you.
  • Apples and tomatoes? Not so much.
  • The food on your table is there thanks to me,
  • but I’m a hidden ingredient in the farm-to-table link.
  • What am I?
  • Riddle 2
  • I’m found in vodka and Volvos,
  • and I help show the heat rise.
  • Brazil is one of my largest producers,
  • using sweetness to make their cars go.
  • Canada wants to produce more of me,
  • turning solid yellow into liquid blue.
  • Some say I am the answer to a global problem,
  • others say I am a cause.
  • What am I?
  • Riddle 3
  • I can be hot, cold, wet, or dry,
  • and lately I’ve gone to extremes.
  • Humans didn’t create me,
  • yet they have a way of making me change.
  • Usually I’m harmless,
  • but depending on my mood, I can be deadly.
  • Some people don’t give me much thought,
  • others worry I will wreak havoc in their lives.
  • What am I?
  • Riddle 4
  • Some people avoid me altogether,
  • Others consume a lot of me every day.
  • Some people can’t bear to think
  • of what I used to be.
  • I can be the first thing off the list
  • when money is tight.
  • A lot of resources are needed,
  • to produce just a little bit of me.
  • What am I?
  • Riddle 5
  • In the summer you might see great piles of me,
  • but now my reserves are shrinking.
  • Most people take me for granted,
  • because I’ve been around longer than sliced bread.
  • You can consume me,
  • or consume something that consumed me first.
  • I come in many forms,
  • and I travel with thousands like me.
  • What am I?
  • Riddle 6
  • You can’t eat me, but it’s hard to eat without me.
  • I talk without saying a word.
  • I can grow, but I’m not alive.
  • I make people smile, but I have no personality.
  • Most people are happy to hold me,
  • but I don’t feel a thing.
  • Some make lots of me with only a little to start,
  • but be warned: I go as easy as I come.
  • What am I?
weekend homework
Weekend Homework
  • Search through your cupboards and fridge in order to determine what foods do and do not contain corn products.
  • Read the ingredients label on the packaging to see if you can find any corn products in the ingredients list.
  • Corn products include: Corn, Corn oil, Corn meal, Corn starch, Corn syrup, Dextrose, Ethyl alcohol, Glucose,
  • High-Fructose corn syrup (HFCS), Maltodextrin, Starch (unless specified as another kind), Xanthan gum
  • Create a T-Chart with your answers at least 7 in each category

With Corn

Without Corn

  • Read pages 360-362 and answer the following questions
  • What is ethanol?
  • What is ethanol used for?
  • What is ethanol made from?
  • How is ethanol manufactured?
  • List 2 advantages and 2 disadvantages of using ethanol
facts about ethanol
Facts about Ethanol

• The ethanol industry in Brazil is based on sugar

cane; the US and Canada’s ethanol industries are

based on corn.

• Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel source than oil, so

it reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute

to climate change.

• Ethanol is expensive to produce and requires intensive

energy inputs; some scientists argue that the

production of ethanol requires more energy than it

ultimately yields.

uses of the u s corn crop 2007 source afdc

Use Percentage

Feed/Residual 45.0%

Ethanol 25.0%

Exports/Shipments 19.0%

High-fructose corn syrup 4.1%

Starch 2.2%

Glucose/Dextrose 1.9%

Cereals/Other products 1.5%

Alcoholic beverages 1.1%

Seed 0.2%

carbon dioxide production by fuel type source uk department for transport
  • Fuel Type Carbon Dioxide

(grams/Megajoule of energy)

  • Wheat Ethanol (Canada) 69
  • Sugar Cane Ethanol (Brazil) 18
  • Corn Ethanol (average) 76
  • Natural Gas (average) 62
  • Diesel (average) 86
  • Gasoline (average) 85
  • Coal (average) 112
ethanol and food insecurity
Ethanol and Food Insecurity

• Ethanol is the source of much controversy: some people want to increase its production as a more efficient fuel additive (to cut greenhouse gases) and others argue that using crops for fuel rather than food has decreased the global food supply and contributed to rising food prices.

  • Some analysts have blamed biofuels for pushing up food prices as much as 30 to 60 per cent, while others argue biofuels have only increased food prices two to three per cent.
ethanol and food insecurity16
Ethanol and Food Insecurity
  • Brazil’s ethanol industry is based on using alcohol from sugar cane, which is not a food staple and is a more efficient source of ethanol than corn.
  • One person could be fed for a year on the corn needed to fill an ethanol-fueled SUV.

• Farmers in some developed countries receive government subsidies to grow corn for ethanol; $11 to $12 billion US a year in subsidies and tariffs has diverted 100 million tonnes of cereals from human consumption.

Do the benefits of producing and using ethanol outweigh the costs to the global food supply.
  • Suggest ways for moving forward in ethanol production. Is it possible to balance the needs for transportation fuel with environmental sustainability and global food security?
  • 1. Place each of the events out on chart paper
  • 2. Use arrows to connect the different events to show how one event can cause another. Along the arrow, explain how the event is causing the other event. Remember, one event may have many causes and/or might impact on several other events. Your group might consider starting with the event card for “Ethanol increases
  • the demand for corn.”

Event Cards

  • Ethanol increases the demand for corn
  • More petroleum is needed
  • Fewer other crops are planted
  • Global hunger worsens
  • More corn is planted
  • Ethanol profits shrink
  • Animal feed prices go up
  • Corn exports shrink
  • Farmers lose out
  • Farmland prices go up
  • Food prices go up
  • Corn prices go up

GMOs = Genetically Modified Organisms

Broadly defined: any microbe, plant, or animal developed through breeding and selection

Narrowly defined: organisms produced by gene transfer techniques

Current examples of GMO Crops

  • insect-resistant crops
          • cotton
          • potato
          • corn
  • herbicide-resistant crops
      • soybean
      • corn
      • canola (rapeseed)
      • many others

GMO Crops on the Horizon

Corn, soy, canola with improved

nutritional qualities for animal feed

Crops with specialty starches and oils

for industrial processes

Nutraceuticals “Golden Rice”

Vaccines in plants

Improved yields and stress tolerance


GMOs: Why the Controversy?

Genetic engineering is a powerful new technology that is in general poorly understood and whose long term effects are unknown.

GMOs are an innovation that have and will continue to impact all facets of the global agricultural economy.



Consumer Products

Commodity Handling


GMO Crops: Two Major Issues

1. Environmental impacts

2. Increased corporate control of agriculture


GMOs and Environmental Impacts

  • Genetic engineering creates novel genetic combinations
  • All GMOs are tested for potential environmental impacts prior to sale
          • influence on soil and water composition
          • insect resistance management
          • gene/trait transfer to weedy relatives
          • interactions with agricultural environment
  • GMO Crops Have Many Significant Environmental Benefits
    • Reduced chemical pesticide and herbicide use
    • More sustainable pest management
    • Better erosion control through no-till practices
    • Increased efficiency of production / unit fossil fuel energy expended
    • Effects on ecosystems
      • If corn is grown to help stop caterpillars from eating plant, what else is it doing?
    • Changes with pollination
      • Unintentional transfer of genes
    • Growth of super weeds

Increased Corporate Control of Agriculture

  • The Development of GM Crops is Expensive
    • Intellectual property and patent protection
    • Consolidation/vertical integration increases ability to capture profits

Ag-biotech is a recent example of a century-old trend

  • Should companies be able to own the DNA contained in plant seeds?
  • How does this situation compare to downloading music for “free”?
  • How does this ownership of seeds compare to companies “owning” water? What are the consequences?
food and the environment
Food and the Environment
  • Organic Food - Foods produced without hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, genetic modification or germ-killing radiation
organic farming
Organic Farming
  • In 2007 there were 669 certified organic farms in Ontario with over 100,000 acres of certified cropland.
  • 96% growth in farm numbers since 1997 and farm acreage growth of 150% over that period.
  • Growth of organic food sales in North America is reported to be 15-20% per year for the past 10 years and has grown from $4 Billion to over $22 billion during that period for North America.
organic farming and the environment
Organic Farming and the Environment
  • Pesticides now kill 67 million American birds per year
  • The Mississippi River dumps enough fertilizer into the Gulf of Mexico to maintain a 60 mile “dead zone” devoid of fish
pesticides and human health
Pesticides and Human Health
  • India suffering from human health consequences of pesticide use
    • Infertility
    • Cancer related deaths increasing
    • Childhood cancers
    • Mental retardation
  • Research shows pesticides and fertilizers in the groundwater.
organic farming and the environment30
Organic farming and the Environment
  • Enhances soil structure
    • Diverse crop rotations guarantee a better uptake of nutrient elements from the soil
  • Conserves water
    • Less chemicals in water,
  • Sustained biodiversity
    • In many countries, agriculture is the largest form of land use; farmland habitats account for a great percentage of natural habitats
100 mile diet
100 mile diet
  • A way to think locally about the food you eat.
  • You are only allowed to consume food that comes from 100 miles (160km) from where you live
why eat local
Why Eat Local?
  • Better tasting food
  • Know where your food comes from
  • Taste new foods
  • Eat what is in season
  • Give back to local economy
  • Save the environment (?)
    • This has been under scrutiny recently
100 mile diet33
100 mile diet
  • How would living on this diet change your daily eating routines?
  • Make a list of foods that you could no longer eat if you were on this diet
100 mile diet34
100 mile diet
  • Show on Food TV
  • Takes place in Mission BC
  • Fraser Valley area which is a good agricultural area


how to eat local
How to Eat Local
  • Grow food in your own backyard
  • Hens in your backyard?
  • Guerilla gardening
  • 356-357
    • What is Bt?
    • What is the principal biotech crop in 2006?
    • What are environmental effects of GMOs?
  • P377 box 10.11
    • What are 2 tips on reducing environmental damage with biocides?
    • How can you protect yourself?
  • P386-388
    • Why should we use organic farming and what are its implications?