Tag Archives: food

From Columbus to celebrity chefs: How food helped shape history

Food: It feeds the soul, fuels the body, affects the environment, inspires artists, influences politics, and impacts just about every part of our lives. It has been a subject of fascination and entertainment for centuries, reflected in the beauty of a Dutch still life, the pageantry of a royal banquet, or even the latest episode of “Top Chef.” (more…)

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China’s Hidden Water Footprint

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Highly developed but water-scarce regions in China, such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Tianjin, are contributing to water depletion in other water-scarce regions of the country through imports of food, textile, and other water intensive products, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. For example, purchasing cloth in Shanghai may not consume water directly, but the production of cloth requires cotton, which is water intensive to cultivate – indirectly contributing to the water scarcity in the less-developed cotton production regions. This dynamic also holds true for food and other products. Only 20% of Shanghai’s scarce water footprint, or the amount of scarce water consumed, is from local watersheds while 80% is from water resources of other water-scarce regions, such as Xinjiang, Hebei, and Inner Mongolia. (more…)

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A truly global course

Sixteen years ago, Jason Hill stood before some 30 students in one of his first classes as a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota. This June, more than 14,000 students will log on to take his course, Sustainability of Food Systems: A Global Life Cycle Perspective.

Hill’s class is among the first five massive open online courses (MOOCs) the U of M is offering (for free) through a partnership with Coursera, a leading MOOC platform. (more…)

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In Conversation with: Paul Bracken, Expert on Nuclear ‘Power Politics’

North Korea, which just conducted its third nuclear test, is using its weapons program to deter the United States by holding its allies “hostage,” according to Paul Bracken, who teaches management and political science at Yale.

Bracken is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, serves on several Department of Defense advisory boards, and is the author, most recently, of “The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics” (Times Books, 2012). The following is an edited version of an email interview with him. (more…)

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Biodiversity: The most common issues

Biodiversity can be considered as an imperative factor that plays a crucial role in poverty reduction owing to its basic goods and the ecosystem services it provides. Over three billion people rely on coastal and marine biodiversity and about 1.7 billion people depend upon non-timber forest products and forests for biodiversity.

Common issues relating to biodiversity can be classified as:

Biodiversity as a source of income and food

World’s poor population, especially living in rural areas are dependent on biological resources for meeting most of their needs. At least, 90 percent of their needs relating to fuel, shelter, medicines and food come from biological resources. (more…)

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UA Partners with Saudi Arabia to Create Sustainable Farming Systems

Faculty members from the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are teaming up with partners at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia to create the Desert Agriculture Research Institute.

Food, clean water and energy – our planet is challenged to meet these basic needs, especially in the harshest environments.

To help solve these global problems, faculty members from the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are teaming up with partners at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST, on the Red Sea Coast, north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The state-of-the-art, progressive public university has turned to the UA – a leading institution in arid lands studies – for expertise in the creation of the Desert Agriculture Research Institute. (more…)

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University of Toronto Study Demonstrates Impact of Adversity on Early Life Development

Study part of growing body of knowledge surrounding gene-environment interplay

TORONTO, ON – It is time to put the nature versus nurture debate to rest and embrace growing evidence that it is the interaction between biology and environment in early life that influences human development, according to a series of studies recently published in a special edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“Biologists used to think that our differences are pre-programmed in our genes, while psychologists argued that babies are born with a blank slate and their experience writes on it to shape them into the adults they become. Instead, the important question to be asking is, ‘How is our experience in early life getting embedded in our biology?’” says University of Toronto behavioural geneticist Marla Sokolowski. She is co-editor of the PNAS special edition titled “Biological Embedding of Early Social Adversity: From Fruit Flies to Kindergarteners” along with professors Tom Boyce (University of British Columbia) and Gene Robinson (University of Illinois). (more…)

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New Report Reveals Food, Water Disparities along U.S.-Mexico Border

A UA study has found poverty, water scarcity, food insecurity and interdependence between the United States and Mexico along the border.

The U.S.-Mexico border is the border in the world with the greatest disparity in access to food and water needed for human survival, according to a report commissioned and published by the Southwest Center at the University of Arizona.

An endowment from the Kellogg Foundation and a UA Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry grant supported the study and its focus on assessing transborder food systems to understand water scarcity and food insecurity within the borderlands region.

The report underscores how in the globalized economy, Arizona and the rest of the United States rely on the skilled labor, water, fresh produce, fish, shellfish and livestock originating in northern Mexico; while in Mexico, the population is increasingly dependent upon frozen and processed foods originating in the United States. (more…)

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