Thursday, September 29, 2016

Why the food waste?

There are many challenges facing us as we work to feed over 9 billion people by 2050. While we must increase production to meet this demand in the future, many will note, that currently we are producing enough food to feed our population as is. There are several factors that are keeping us from feeding our current population including costs, infrastructure. and much more. One of the challenges we face is the waste of food. Linked below is a video from the Food and Agriculture Organization. I encourage you to watch the video (around three minutes) and then utilize the discussion points provided below to guide your conversations in your classrooms, coffee shops, and communities around the world!

Food Wastage Footprint

Discussion Points

  • How much food do we waste and what are the impacts of this?
  • What was one of the most surprising/interesting facts that you took from this video?
  • Reflect on your school, household, and community. Where do you see food waste?
  • This video highlights food waste issues in developed countries. However, we still see this degree of food loss in developing countries as well. How does developing countries food waste/loss differ from those in developed countries? 
  • What can be done to cut down on food waste around the world in all settings? Start with your home and then move to your local community, country, and then world.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Farmers Push Trans-Pacific Partnership

This week we take a look at an article that highlights corn producers efforts to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through congress. It shares where things stand with the TPP, why there is the push, and what challenges lie ahead. Read the linked article and then utilize the discussion questions to guide your conversations.

Corn Farmers Push Congress to Pass TPP

Discussion Points

  • Why is the TPP a positive thing for American farmers?
  • Why are farmers so concerned with getting the passage of the TPP now rather than later?
  • What could the passage of the TPP mean to the rest of the world?
  • Do some additional research. Where do the current presidential candidates stand in regards to the TPP?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Global Commodity Food Prices

This week we feature the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) food price index. The linked website shares what the food price index is and what trends we are seeing. We encourage you to explore the different commodity areas and reasonings for increases and decreases of specific commodity areas and the overall direction of commodity prices. After you analyze this website use the discussion points below to guide your conversations around the world.

FAO Food Price Index

Discussion Points

  • Explain what the FAO Food Price Index is and how it works.
  • Which index/commodity has seen the greatest increase and decrease recently and why?
  • What has the been the trend of the FAO Food Price Index over the past 15 years?
  • What do you think the future trend will be of the FAO Food Price Index? Justify your reasoning.
  • What factors have an affect on setting the FAO Food Price Index?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Natural Disasters Impacting Agriculture

This week we feature a short video (2 minutes and 40 seconds) from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that explores the impact of natural disasters on agriculture around the world. This video presents many topics that encourage thought and analysis. We encourage you to watch this short video and then share dialogue around the globe utilizing the discussion points provided below.


Discussion Points
  • What has the trend been over the past 20-30 years regarding natural disasters? What could be driving (causing) these trends?
  • How have these disasters impacted agriculture? Give specific examples.
  • Have you seen natural disasters affect agriculture in your local area? Explain.
  • What challenges face us currently in regards to natural disasters and agriculture?
  • What opportunities do we have in front of us to combat the effects of natural disasters on agriculture? (What can be done to help?)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

African Agricultural Development

Recently the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations held a side event at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development that highlighted agriculture development as a key tool in providing peace and resolve to conflicted areas in Africa. Read the linked article summarizing this event below and utilize the discussion points provided to spark conversations around the globe!

No Peace Without Freedom From Want

Discussion Points

  • The director of the FAO emphasized the importance of agriculture development in keeping peace and resolving conflict. How would you justify this statement (how does agriculture do this)?
  • Why is the UN so focused on bringing peace to this area (what percentage of UN peacekeeping missions take place in this area)?
  • What successes have been seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo in regards to agriculture development? Do you believe these success can be duplicated throughout Africa? Explain your reasoning.
  • Explain what the Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa is focused on. In your mind what needs to be done to make sure this initiative is successful?
  • Why do you believe Tokyo would be so interested in African development?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

China and Rooftop Agriculture

About a month ago I came across an interesting article that I wanted to share. The article linked below describes a rooftop farm in China. Along with the article two videos are shared. The first video gives you an up close look at the rooftop garden that is featured in China. The second video discusses agriculture practices and policy in China. I encourage you to read the article and watch the two videos included in the article and discuss the points below.

Sky-high farms: Rooftop agriculture growing in popularity

Video 1: Sky-high Farms
  • How is this rooftop farm connecting urban populations to agriculture?
  • Would something like this be successful in your home country, state, or local community?
  • Rooftop gardens are becoming more common, but what is your thought on adding animals to this rooftop farm?
Video 2: China's Agriculture Sector
  • What factors are causing a shift in agriculture production and practices within China?
  • How is China looking to modernize farms and why is this needed?
  • What is China's stance on GMO's? May their stance be changing moving forward?
  • How does land ownership work in China?
Let the conversations begin! Discuss in your classrooms, coffee shops, and communities around the world!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Rice and Drought in Asia

Currently there is a drought impacting Asia due to the El Nino weather pattern. It is causing havoc for farmers and drying up rivers in Asia. While the drought has impacted rice production there has not been a big change in rice prices. These details are discussed in the article linked below and discussion points have been provided to guide conversations in your classrooms and communities around the world.

Rice Prices Stay Sideways Despite Drought

Discussion Points

  • Why is this region that is being affected by drought so important to rice production?
  • Why has there not been a big change to rice prices in Asia despite the drought?
  • What is the impact of construction of hydroelectric dams in this same area?
  • Will this impact growers and/or rice prices in the United States? Explain.
  • At what point do you believe rice prices could be impacted in Asia? Explain your reasoning.
  • How would a severe drought impact your local agriculture economy?