Thursday, April 17, 2014

World Hunger Map

World hunger issues are a constant.  We all hear the warnings that by 2050 we will have to feed over 9 billion mouths worldwide.  Today I encourage you to take a close look at world hunger with a tool provided by the World Food Programme.  Linked below you will find the World Hunger Map.  This is an interactive map that you can click on specific countries to get percent of the population undernourished and then explore factors that are contributing to this specific to each country.

World Hunger Map


Challenge your students to explore countries and have discussions in class.  You can assign students a specific country/countries and report findings to the class or have all students explore a number of countries with a high percentage of undernourished population.  After research discuss the following:

  • What are the main factors contributing to undernourishment?
  • What trends have you seen among countries and undernourishment?
  • How do we overcome these factors to feed 9 billion by 2050?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

South African Land Rights

Land right issues are nothing new to Africa. Land rights have been at the center of discussions for years. The article South Africa Proposal proposes how to deal with land rights in South Africa. This specific proposal awards land purchased by South Africa's Rural Development and Land Reform Ministry to farm workers with quantity awarded based on their years of work. You can be guaranteed there are two sides forming from this proposal and they are both outlined in this article.

After reading this article I encourage you to research the history of land rights in South Africa and have a discussion as a group.Here are some points to help guide discussion:
  1. What is the history of land rights in South Africa?
  2. What are the benefits/drawbacks to this proposal? Be sure to look at both sides of this argument.
  3. If you were making the decision what would you suggest and why? Keep proposal, scrap proposal, or modify it?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Climate Change and Food

Global warming has always been and continues to be a highly debated topic! Is it legit? What does it mean for agriculture?

When I attended the World Food Prize Conference and Borlaug Dialogue this past October climate change was one of the areas of discussion. No matter where you stand on the global warming issue they presented the facts and let you draw your own conclusions. There was one session titled "Resilience and Reality: The Future of a Climate Volatile Planet." This session did an excellent job getting you to think about "climate change" instead of "global warming." While we can't all agree on global warming I think most can agree that our climate is always changing. We have all seen severe weather swings in the past couple years (flooding, droughts, blizzards, extreme cold, etc.) One of the speakers had the following to share in regards to climate change, "It is what it is. Nature doesn't always give us bad things, we must look for opportunities to capitalize on our climate." This really put things in perspective. Yes we want to implement practices that conserve and don't harm our climate, but we also need to learn to work with what we have.

Hotter world means less food, higher costs, says UN panel: Article regarding climate change and how it will affect our food supply along with the stance of the UN. I encourage you to read this article and discuss with others.

Agriculture Education Challenge

I encourage you to think about how we are going to deal with climate change. Think about crops that are commonly grown in your area. In small groups brainstorm ways that you could alter crops or crop plans to better utilize the weather patterns and climates you are seeing in your area recently and where you see trends heading. Share and discuss your finding as a large group. Can present your information verbally or create presentations (PowerPoint or Poster).