Food and the Environment How agriculture is shaping the environment

Farmacology: "What a Biodynamic Farmer Taught me About Rejuvenation" by Daphne Miller:

Daphne Miller explores the farming systems especially biodynamic farming. Biodynamic farming is defined by the use of organic material for fertilizing the soil. For example, at Jubilee farm, farmer Erick Haakenson makes the animals move to a different pasture daily so that they will fertilize the ground by their waste. However, Miller relates the biodynamic system that farmer Erick has created to our bodies. This was a really interesting relation because Miller says that a healthy gut is similar to a healthy biodynamic farm. Overall, "Biodynamic fields also require 20 to 50 percent less fertilizer and fossil fuel - derived energy input than conventional fields to get the sam crop yield," (38). This quote is really important because it shows that this type of farming is system is way better for the earth; they are using less fertilizer so, no fertilizer run off. To continue the metaphor it is almost saying that humans that have a healthy gut are not really going to need antibiotics or other medication. Biodynamic systems are better off than organic farms: "In fact, when researchers have looked at the impact of organic systems on both soil quality and food nutrient levels, they have found that they often no better than conventional farms," (49). Soil has a lot more vitamins and minerals. This makes biodynamic farming create better soil which is actually helping the earth.

Healthy fish farming

The Third Plate: "Sea" by Dan Barber

Dan Barber, chef at Blue Hill, talks about the differences in fish farming and the way that this idea of getting food has become really mechanized. He talks a great deal about this one fish farm called: Veta La Palma. This farm introduced a new way of fish farming that allowed the fish to swim around freely in these big canals. The over arching theme was relationships that are built by animals and the food being farmed. One quote that I found fascinating while reading this article was: "over the past sixty years, we started taking too many fish from the sea from the sea, more than quadrupling our annual haul, from nineteen million tons in 1950 to eighty-seven million tons in 2005," (213). We, as the entire human population, have created a demand for fish that has led to fish farming to become a system that is killing off a great population of fish. That is why we are searching for eco-friendly fishing systems. This is really hard because we need to find a way to mass produce fish while taking good care of the food. One of the most interesting that came up in the reading, "the quality of the relationships matters more than the quantity of the catch," (245). This quote speaks to the quality of the relationships in the taste of the food being farmed. And, throughout the reading Barber really emphasizes the importance of having relationship between the food and the outside environment. The fish are being eaten by the flamingos and that does not bother the farmers. This is like its own ecosystem that is maintaining the population of flamingos.

The Third Plate: "Land" by Dan Barber

The chapter "Land" talks a lot about the relationship between flavor and the interaction of animals and their natural habitat. The part that I found important was when Dan Barber was talking about the taste related to exercise. "Local farmers intentionally curtail the pigs' exercise creating muscles that were less oxygenated, and therefore less chewy," (169). This quote demonstrates the typical farmers experience with raising pigs but keeping them kept together in close quarters because it is easier for them to take care of them. This speaks to the laziness that has affected many farmers therefore, has affected the treatment of the animals. However, "Exercise not only deepens flavor; it also creates space within the muscles for fat deposits," (169). So, the farming methods limit the actual taste. Barber is showing the conflict between the farmers and the market. People do not want to have to pay for good quality however, the treatment of the animals is not proper. Nevertheless, people want to buy some food that tastes delicious but are not willing to pay for the taste.

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: "Why American Agriculture is Not Sustainable" by Frederick L. Kirschenmann

Frederick L. Kirschenmann starts the chapter off by defining sustainability. Kirschenmann uses Hawken's principles to explain how the farms are sustainable: "Sustainability requires that production systems be designed so that waste from one part of the system returns as food for another part of the system," (179). This part is really interesting because compost only just became something that was important. Most farmers who use a monoculture system will most likely not be using the waste to reuse to help the farm grow. Hawken's second principle was: "we transition from a carbon based economy to an economy based on hydrogen and sunshine, moving from borrowed to current energy," (179). Hawken is demonstrating how most farms are exporting their goods across the country because they are trying to sell food and vegetables that are out of season. Hawken's final principal: "requires that we pay heed to ecological restoration," (179). He says we need to start restoring our planet so that we are able to farm for longer. I learned a lot of about farming from reading this chapter on sustainable farming because it spoke about the farming methods that are important to the improvement of our Earth.

Grass, Soil, Hope: "A journey through Carbon Country" by Courtney White

Courtney White starts the chapter off by stating that Carbon is the 4th most abundant element in the world. I think that the start of this line was a really good opener because of how important Carbon is for our everyday life. However, very few farmers are actually interested in preserving the Carbon in their soil. There has been a new type of farming that introduces the more Carbon into the soil, this method is called share cropping. This method allows the animals to eat the native grass and dispose of waste on the pastures to return the Carbon levels to normal height. This method has worked really well on farms in Australia. Another part of the reading that I found interesting was the part about a flerd. A flerd is a flock of sheep and cows that live together in a herd. I found it interesting how both of the animals do not really get upset with each other and actually rely on one another. It is a symbiotic relationship: the cows will eat certain grass and the sheep will eat the grass that the cows did not get to. Also, the flerd will add more minerals back into the ground: "This improvement in diversity has substantially enhanced the mineral content of the plants, since they can now access nutrients more widely, as well as deeper in the soil profile, and process them more effectively," (82). The cows and sheep are airating the grass so, the plants will create bigger and stronger root system. The farther it goes down into the ground the more minerals it will be able to gain from the ground. This benefits the earth because the plants are healthier and there are more minerals in the soil.

Supposed to represent the beauty of the world we live in.

"The Philosophies of Sustainability" by Olli Loukola and Simo Kyllönen

"The Philosophies of Sustainability" is a reading the tries to define sustainability in both social forms. I found myself agreeing and disagreeing with things that were written in the essay. One thing that I found myself wanting to disagree but actually agreeing with the statement: "The policy science of our time is economics, where cost benefit analysis has been the central tool of trade," (1). I found this really true because our government focuses on making money instead of the health of the citizens. I feel a little mad because if we continue to treat our earth the way the United States there will no longer be a planet for the United States to be on. Especially with our new president the policies towards climate change and sustainability will be reversed. One thing that I disagreed with was: "Policies that serve the interest of human beings can in the long run also serve the 'interests' of nature," (5). I disagreed with this quote because if humans are serving their own interests then we are not changing the food system we already live in. Many people do not care about the taste of their food but actually the cost of the food. Leading farms to turn into big monocultures where they are spraying pesticides almost everyday. This article demonstrated the actual meaning behind sustainable farming.

Hay farms

Near a Thousand Tables: "Challenging Evolution" by Felipe Fernández-Armesto

"Challenging Evolution" talks about the evolution of our world and the farming systems with it. Felipe Fernández-Armesto talks about the evolution of certain cultural dishes. The spread of that type of meal spread to all of the colonies that Britain, France, Spain, and Belgium had colonized. The spread increased the need for mass producing food because they wanted to create more food. For example, in the Caribbean, Britain was making the islands farm sugar because of the increased need for sugar in England. "The reverse effects - the new eating habits induced by ecological exchange in the New World and the Southern Hemisphere - have been even more profound, partly because the cultural impact of colonization has been greater on the New World than the Old, but partly, too, because the peoples of the Americas and the South had fewer edible species at their disposal, especially of fauna, than their counterparts in Eurasia and most of Africa five-hundred years ago," (168). This quote shows the impact colonization had the farming industry because of the increased demand for cultural food in a different area of the world. The Americas had "fewer edible species at their disposal" shows that the settlers had to create a system that was not normal to the system. This reading connected to the environment because it showed the connection between agriculture then and the reason it has turned into the system that it is today.

THANK YOU!

Credits:

Created with images by StateofIsrael - "Agriculture" • monika1607 - "fish sea trout salmo trutta" • HockeyDad77 - "Oink" • StateofIsrael - "Agriculture" • nikolayhg1 - "Soil after Tractor" • combonianos_brasil - "nature water bioma" • Bergadder - "bale straw agriculture"

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