Guns, Germs and Steel: How to Make an Almond by Neil Diamond
Through the introduction of almonds, Diamond explains the evolution of growing crops. "Plant domestication may be defined as growing a plant and thereby, consciously or unconsciously, causing it to change genetically from its wild ancestor in ways making it more useful to human consumers" (114). By planting seeds, choosing what goes into the soil and what does not, humans are able to modify foods. Selecting the desired traits desired and planting the seeds of the plant with those into the ground slowly changes the DNA of a plant. However some plants are have not been domesticated. One example is the oak tree. Although it has nuts that squires and other animals eat, it is highly bitter to humans. This is because of although in almonds it is only "a single dominant gene", this trait "appears to be controlled by many genes in oaks". Because of this, the oak tree has not been cultivated for humans to eat their nuts. Oak trees also have a slow growth which "would exhaust the patience of most farmers", the size and taste of the nuts were evolved to be "suitable to squirrels" and humans would be competing with squirrels to alter the DNA of the oak tree.
The environment also plays a role in determining the food that grows in places and the animals that live in the areal. As talked about in the article, Romans liked berries but they were modified to feed small birds and insects. They were not large enough for the Romans to eat them until modern science was able to modify the fruits.
Dan Barber: Sea
The Sea is being polluted every day. There is a large 'island' of garbage floating around the Pacific Ocean. "The fertilizers and pesticides that feed our monocultures end up in the ocean. So do the chemicals used for maintaining places like golf courses - monocultures with with eighteen holes - and backyards. Many of the toxic materials we use on land eventually leach into the ocean."
Dan Barber took a trip to a farm in Veta La Palma to visit a farmer named Miguel. Miguel had a fish farm which was highly sustainable. The reserve actually cleans the water that comes in through the ocean. When asking how they feed the fish at the farm, Miguel responded, "We don't feed [the bass] this time of year at least. The natural productivity of the farm is so high during most of the year, we're not feeding the bass" (241). This incredible process is not only helping the water and fish grow healthy, but it is helping the bird life too. Flamingos travel far from their nests to feed on the fish that live at the reserve. This might have been considered bad to another farmer who was growing fish. However, Miguel was delighted because it proves that this is the correct and only way that he will ever farm.