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?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Farming in the Sky

Urban farming is gaining momentum across the globe and this is evident in the Netherlands which now claims fame to the largest urban farm in Europe. Urban Farmers, the company behind this urban farm, hope to provide 900 families along with local restaurants and a cooking school with vegetables and fish. Read the linked article below detailing this project and utilize the discussion points provided to create conversations in your classrooms and communities.

Greenhouse in the Sky

Discussion Points

  • Why is there a demand for urban farms like this around the world? 
  • Why is there great potential to replicate this type of production?
  • Explain the aquaponics system explained in this article and the efficiency that it brings.
  • Do you see something like this taking off in your local community? Explain.
  • Discuss the proposal by a hog farmer to integrate hog production into the urban scene? Do you think one day this will be accomplished? Explain.
  • Is urban farming a fad? React to the following statement from the article: “I always refer to the debates about parks in the city in the past. I think in 100 years, urban agriculture will be as normal as the city parks we have today.”