In its simplest form food could be defined as any substance with the capacity to be turned into energy by living things. In its most complex, food is attributed with the power to sustain the development of human civilizations. While in its most basic form food is common and essential to all species, humans have commodified food to the extent that billions of individuals, in both the poorest and wealthiest of nations suffer from hunger. Today food is at the center of debates about health, about family farms versus industrial farms, water and land use, economics and genetically modified organisms.
?Main Image: Steer fitted with a global positioning system (GPS) collar to examine cattle responses to prescribed burns at the Central Plains Experimental Range in...
AgricultureLast Updated on 2014-09-15 23:44:27Agriculture includes cultivation of crops as tending of livestock for the purpose of production of food and fiber for humans. Mankind began to cultivate food crops about 10,000 years ago. Prior to that time, hunter-gatherers secured their food as they traveled in the nearby environment. When they observed some of the grains left behind at their campsites sprouting and growing to harvest, they began to cultivate these grains. From these humble beginnings agriculture began. Slash and burn, an early type of crop culture, remains today a truly sustainable agriculture, one that is independent of fossil fuel energy. In such a system, about ten hectares of productive land is held in fallow for each planted hectare. With this rotation system, a hectare is planted once every 20 years, allowing the soil to reaccumulate vital plant nutrients. Although the practice requires large acreages and large... More »
AgroforestryLast Updated on 2014-09-08 22:31:15
Agroforestry is the deliberate incorporation of trees and other woody species of plants into other types of agricultural activities. By definition the use of woody species must result in the enhancement of either the biological productivity or the economic return of the system, or both. There are many types of agroforestry, which are usually defined by what type of agricultural activity is involved, but this can be a very broad definition and includes what we normally think of as agriculture (agroforestry), but also other combinations such as livestock production (sylvo-pastoral agroforestry) and even aquaculture (sylvo-aqua agroforestry). Even more complicated versions are possible such as agricultural systems that incorporate livestock, trees and aquaculture (sylvo-pastoral-aqua agroforestry).
In addition, agroforestry systems may be classified based on four interrelated... More »
HorticultureLast Updated on 2014-09-08 22:22:03
Horticulture [L. hortus: garden +cult(us): till] is the cultivation of flowers, fruit, vegetables, or ornamental plants; the science and art of cultivating such plants. In addition to plant cultivation, other elements of horticulture include floral arranging, landscape design, and landscape installation, as well as landscape architecture, landscape management, interiorscaping, golf course management and urban forestry. Botanical gardens and arboreta provide public access to display gardens, and often support research programs as well. Horticultural therapy is the use of horticulture in therapeutical situations, such as in assisted living centers or for disadvantaged children' s programs.
Greenhouse usage ranks high among plant production systems in terms of technological usage. A large majority of greenhouse crops are grown in containers using modified... More »
Fenugreek Last Updated on 2014-08-22 15:04:52
(Source: Saikat Basu, own work)
Species: Trigonella foenum-graecum
Binomial name: Trigonella foenum-graecum L.
Fenugreek (Trigonella) is the oldest medicinal plant in the world. Most popular species of this genus is Trigonella foenum-graecum, where the term “foenum-graecum” means ‘Greek hay’ pointing to its use as a forage crop in the past, fenugreek is grown mainly as a spice crop in the recent times. The plant is believed to be native to the Mediterranean region1-6. There are several controversies regarding the origin of the fenugreek plant for which no proper theory as to the... More »
Food Biodiversity Challenges From a Global PerspectiveLast Updated on 2014-07-25 14:03:15
Food collection or gathering has been an important part of human endeavors towards establishing civilization across the long history of human evolution. Humans have demonstrated their ingenuity in identifying and locating new and novel food sources located in their immediate surrounding and during their migration across the planet. Humans have become more successful than other species because of their better foraging abilities and coordinated group work in identifying and locating novel food sources over time. This trial and error approach has enabled humans over time to identify suitable food sources from their local environments. Over time, humans have identified more species that are edible or could be made edible using primitive to modern day recipes and cooking techniques. These long years of trial and errors have generated a wide range of food sources for... More »
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