Enseñanzas Con Mariah is a segment dedicated to explore various social, political, economic, and environmental dimensions of food production, distribution, and consumption. At the moment, Mariah, Food and Art Educator of Veggie Mijas, is majoring in Food Studies and History. Mariah will be teaching us a mini-lesson every week in order for us to get an insight and start the conversation on topics that need to be talked about. Every topic will be unending, but these will be topics that we need to talk about, and we need to talk about them now. If you have any suggestions for a topic, feel free to contact us through e-mail and with any resources you all have as well. This is a collective learning experience, we are all the learners, not experts!

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Environment and Food Systems

Conventional Farmings

Conventional farming is the use of seeds that have been genetically altered using a variety of traditional breeding methods, excluding biotechnology, and are not certified as organic. Conventional crops may be grown simply as commodities and enter the commodity stream where they are mixed with other crops, including genetic engineering, or they may be grown to meet a requirement set forth by an end market, such as a specific chemical or nutritional requirement.

Problems with Intensive breading

The loss of genetic diversity, and major agronomist crops. Crops such as soybeans, corn, and wheat have only few parental lines. Crops become influenced or harmed by a particular disease.

Insects become resistance to herbicide and more tolerant. Concentration on specific crops becomes a disadvantage to diverse farming. Soil lacks nutrients because of conventional farming.

Concentration Animal Feeding Operation 

There are 300 or more animal units across the United States. Feeding animals so they can grow bigger for production. By having an abundance of animals in one area it can lead to several social and environmental problems.

Factory Farm 

This is also known as concentrated feeding operations, that emphasize high volume and profit with minimal regard for human health, safe food, the environment, humane treatment of animals, and the rural economy. 

Social Impact

Most of these animal farms are located in rural areas across the United States. This includes people living in poverty that are often POC communities. Often these communities get silenced by large corporations. This allows for harsh smell and depletion of the land near these communities. Which also causes health factors and risk among community members. Below is a map of feeding farms across the United States.

Animal Waste

The characteristics of a factory farm vary by animal and region of the country. Hundreds to thousands of animals are confined tightly together and provided little access to sunlight, fresh air or room for natural movement. So where does the animal leave its waste? Manure "lagoons" or liquid waste systems produce millions of animal feces annually. Again, usually in rural areas that contaminate drinking water. 

How can we combat industrial farming?

Be more conscious of where you purchase your produce. Re-search the farms where you purchase your produce. Most importantly, continue educating others! 

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From Farm to Globalization Part II

Green Revolution

Creation of agricultural technologies, base on industrial agri-food system; this included hybrid seeds, petro-based fertilizers, machinery, and pesticides. 

Impact on Farm

The Green Revolution produced high yields. Generally wealthy farmers who could afford to grow continued with entire package of inputs and farmed on ideal (flat larger plots) land. For other farms, yield decreased overtime and seeds could not be replanted. They could not afford to continue with off-farm inputs, and lost fertility soil along with agrarian knowledge and diverse diets.

Gender Labor and Food Systems

As global sifts in agriculture occurs so did the role of men and women. People shifted from producing food to purchasing food. Farms went from substance to for-profit food system. Exports focused on profit and diverse production of foods. Many women went from being food producers to urban wage laborers. This reduced food security for women and families. The push for urbanization created outsourcing (cheap labor) around the world. Countries such as the U.S, China, and Japan exploited labor in the global south..

Rise of Genetically Modified Organisms

Original farmers recruited plants from wild areas and bred them to manifest desirable traits. Establishments of scientific agriculture led to laboratory experiments and controlled trials. Selection of various types of traits transformed seeds.

For example: Mutagenesis is used as germ plasma and corn to mutate your crops - extracting plasma to speed up the process of mutation & Hydrolization is taking traits from a plant to developed the best kind. You cannot reuse these seeds. Forcing farmers to buy seeds each year.

Gene Manipulation

Transgenic Engineering are when alteration to the genome involves the genetic material from a different species. 

For example: Fish scale genes are added to oranges so they can sustain cold/wet weather conditions

Cis-Genic engineering: a plant that has been genetically modified with one or more gene.

For ex: if you like the shape and color of an apple, you would manipulate it by using the same seed and no other seeds to produce that apple.

How has gene manipulation modified your diet?

Think about your diet. How have certain fruits and vegetables changed since the green revolution?

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From Farm to Globalization Part I

The Development Project

A Global "Development" project that focused on market governance. The idea of governance best accomplished through citizens as individual consumers.

Impact on Central & South America

The Colonial Project

European cultural superiority and devaluing of non euro colonial division of labor led to the enslavement of indigenous people. Later these colonies were used for extraction of raw material and production of primary producer production. People under colonial rule were forced to labor in mines, fields, and plantations to produce goods for European factories. This lead to a global culture of "underdeveloped" Southern countries. The replacement of traditional land use and gendered land use ownership rights pushed men into crash crops minimizing women's customary land rights to produce food for family in many regions.

What Happened to the Land?

Export of monocultures (single crops produced in a mass rate)

Colonies were forced into a system of producing one crop agricultural systems for export rather than diverse crops for their own consumption. 

people became disconnected from growing what they were eating, and for many cultures, money became necessary for them to eat for the first time in history.

The Outcome

Privatization of communal land meant communities could no longer farm together - they were forced t orient land and produce for sale or leave the land and get jobs in cities. 

Eventually this led to displacing indigenous land use systems. 

Relearning and Growing

Try to imagine a world without globalization? Almost impossible? Now imagine growing your own produce or herbs. It is easy to forget these practices because we are a part of an industrial food system. In the process we lost a basic skill. 

Learning how to grow our own food (even the smallest of herbs) can show us how to reconnect with the Earth. we become more aware of what we put into our bodies and focus on sustainable practices. Try putting a small plant on your window and watch it grow, herbs such as cilantro or basil grow easily and add a wonder taste to your meal.

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Food System Part 2

The Food Chain


Growing crops and raising animals


Transformation of food and raw ingredients into products for consumers


Transporting and retailing ingredients/food


Eating and sharing food with family and the community


Spoiled and uneaten food: post consumption, process by products

Food System to Food Chain

Think of food systems as the overview of different food chains. A food system is the set of interlinked institutions and process of transform solar energy, water, and soil nutrients into "food"

Surplus of element --> Food and Community

The usage of these elements by people and institutions are linked to social, political, economic and environmental issues

Example: Industrial Food

- Meat industry causes mass production of animals

- Packaged foods cause more labor and usage of plastic

- Predictable flavors cause mass consumption of processed foods

Cost and Consequence

- Social Impacts production of processed foods becomes the staple food

- Political and economical impacts: Trumps trade war and tariffs on farmers crops

- Public health: high obesity and diabetes rate

- Environmentally unsustainable putting extreme pressure on the Earth's climate, natural resources and ecosystems

The purpose of explain these food chains is to show how production of food factors into other systems

When looking into where your food comes from, y'all can see various institutions and how they played a part in your plate.

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Food System

A food system is the way food travels from farm to fork. It encompasses how and where food is produced, distributed, processed, consumed, and how waste is managed. People are the center of every step of the food system. The food systems is shaped by politics, economics, cultures, and the natural environment. A thriving food system provides healthful food for all community members, creates economic opportunities for businesses, produces good job opportunities and sustains the environment. 

What is a Community Food System?

Where does your Food Come From?

For one day, record what you eat and investigate the source of your food:

How was it prepared? Where did you get your food? Where did your food originate (what is the country or place of origin)? Who produced or processed it? What company or farm?

Keep Track:

Let's keep this conversation going and submit your findings to Veggie Mijas titled "Tarrea for Mariah", we will share this and discuss further our source of our food!

Food Deserts

Food deserts are defined as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of stores, farmers markets, and healthy food providers. 

This has become a big problem because while food deserts are often short on whole food providers, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, instead, they are heavy on local quickie marts that provide a wealth of processed, sugar, and fat laden foods that are known contributors to our nation’s obesity epidemic. The food desert problem has in fact become such an issue that the USDA has outlined a map of our nation’s food deserts, which I saw on Mother Nature Network.

How to Combat Food Deserts

1. Start a Local Food Co-Op

Worker-owned cooperatives can grow the local economy, provide jobs, empower people to take their life and work into their own hands.

2. Mobile Food Market

Focus on creating healthy, just and substainable food systems, as well as building community, the project partners with growers, non profits, businesses, governments and community groups.

3. Bus Stop Farmers Markets

Put food where people already are; making it convenient to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies on their way home from work. 

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Using Format