Soc4. Soc3. Soc2. Reith 2000. Recently, I was visiting Bhatinda in Punjab because of an epidemic of farmers suicides.
Punjab used to be the most prosperous agricultural region in India. Today every farmer is in debt and despair. Vast stretches of land have become water-logged desert. And as an old farmer pointed out, even the trees have stopped bearing fruit because heavy use of pesticides have killed the pollinators - the bees and butterflies. And Punjab is not alone in experiencing this ecological and social disaster. Their native seeds have been displaced with new hybrids which cannot be saved and need to be purchased every year at high cost. The corporations are now trying to introduce genetically engineered seed which will further increase costs and ecological risks. On March 27th, 25 year old Betavati Ratan took his life because he could not pay pack debts for drilling a deep tube well on his two-acre farm.
The drought is not a "natural disaster". Who feeds the world? That is why I ask, who feeds the world? Factory Farm Nation: How America Turned Its Livestock Farms into Factories. November 30th, 2010 Over the last two decades, small- and medium-scale livestock farms have given way to factory farms that confine thousands of cows, hogs and chickens in tightly packed facilities.
Farmers have adopted factory-farming practices largely at the behest of the largest meatpackers, pork processors, poultry companies and dairy processors. The largest of these agribusinesses are practically monopolies, controlling what consumers get to eat, what they pay for groceries and what prices farmers receive for their livestock. This unchecked agribusiness power and misguided farm policies have pressed livestock producers to become significantly larger and adopt more intensive practices. Despite ballooning in size, many livestock producers are just squeezing by because the real price of beef cattle, hogs and milk has been falling for decades. As consumers saw during the 2010 egg recall, food safety problems on even a few factory farms can end up in everyone’s refrigerator.
Key Findings. The Meatrix. Patterns of Subsistence: Comparisons. Over the last 10,000 years, human populations have grown rapidly.
This has resulted in increased pressure to produce more food with the same amount of land. As a consequence, our foraging ancestors were forced to change their subsistence patterns radically. Horticulture and pastoralism solved the problem for several thousand years. However, by 5,000 years ago in some regions of the world, intensive agriculture became a necessity. During the 19th and 20th centuries, most of humanity was forced to adopt this means of food production. With each successive stage in this transition, people steadily moved away from a passive dependence on the environment. Patterns of Subsistence: Intensive Agriculture. Intensive agriculture is the primary subsistence pattern of large-scale, populous societies.
It results in much more food being produced per acre compared to other subsistence patterns. Beginning about 5,000 years ago, the development of intensive farming methods became necessary as the human population grew in some major river valleys to levels beyond the carrying capacity of the environment using horticulture and pastoralism. The transition to intensive agriculture was originally made possible by water management systems and the domestication of large animals for pulling plows.
This allowed farmers to get below the top soil to bring buried nutrients up to the surface. It also allowed farmers to maintain much larger fields of crops. Patterns of Subsistence: Pastoralism. Pastoralism is a subsistence pattern in which people make their living by tending herds of large animals.
The species of animals vary with the region of the world, but they are all domesticated herbivores that normally live in herds and eat grasses or other abundant plant foods. Horses are the preferred species by most pastoralists in Mongolia and elsewhere in Central Asia. In East Africa, it is primarily cattle. In the mountainous regions of Southwest Asia, it is mainly sheep and goats. Patterns of Subsistence: Horticulture. Horticulture is small scale, low intensity farming.
This subsistence pattern involves at least part time planting and tending of domesticated food plants. Pigs, chickens, or other relatively small domesticated animals are often raised for food and prestige. Many horticultural societies supplement their farming subsistence base with occasional hunting and gathering of wild plants and animals. Horticulturalist population densities are higher than those of most foragers and pastoralists. Usually, there are at least 1-10 people per square mile with community sizes ranging from around 30 to several hundred. Patterns of Subsistence: Foraging. Foraging Foraging for wild plants and hunting wild animals is the most ancient of human subsistence patterns.
Prior to 10,000 years ago, all people lived in this way.