Matching Items (54)

Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Implications for Food Production, Plant Diseases, and Pests

Description

Current and future energy use from burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests for cultivation can have profound effects on the global environment, agriculture, and the availability of low-cost,

Current and future energy use from burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests for cultivation can have profound effects on the global environment, agriculture, and the availability of low-cost, high-quality food for humans. Individual farmers and consumers are expected to be affected by changes in global and regional climate. The agricultural sector in both developing and developed areas needs to understand what is at stake and to prepare for the potential for change wisely.

Despite tremendous improvements in technology and crop yield potential, food production remains highly dependent on climate, because solar radiation, temperature, and precipitation are the main drivers of crop growth. Plant diseases and pest infestations, as well as the supply of and demand for irrigation water are influenced by climate. For example, in recent decades, the persistent drought in the Sahelian region of Africa has caused continuing deterioration of food production[1,2]; the 1988 Mid-west drought led to a 30% reduction in U.S. corn production and cost taxpayers $3 billion in direct relief payments to farmers[3] and, weather anomalies associated with the 1997-98 El Niño affected agriculture adversely in Nordeste, Brazil and Indonesia[4]. Earlier in the century, the 1930s U.S. Southern Great Plains drought caused some 200,000 farm bankruptcies in the Dust Bowl; yields of wheat and corn were reduced by as much as 50%[5].

The aim of this article is to discuss the effects of climate variability and change on food production, risk of malnutrition, and incidence of weeds, insects, and diseases. It focuses on the effects of extreme weather events on agriculture, looking at examples from the recent past and to future projections. Major incidents of climate variability are contrasted, including the effects of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Finally, projected scenarios of future climate change impacts on crop production and risk of hunger in major agricultural regions are presented.

Altered weather patterns can increase crop vulnerability to infection, pest infestations, and choking weeds. Ranges of crop weeds, insects, and diseases are projected to expand to higher latitudes[6,7]. Shifts in climate in different world regions may have different and contrasting effects. Some parts of the world may benefit from global climate change (at least in the short term), but large regions of the developing world may experience reduced food supplies and potential increase in malnutrition[2,3]. Changes in food supply could lead to permanent or semi-permanent displacement of populations in developing countries, consequent overcrowding and associated diseases, such as tuberculosis[8].

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  • 2001-12

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Does Inclusivity Really Matter? The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Farm-Based Internship Programs

Description

Current farming demographics in the United States indicate an aging and overwhelmingly white group of farmers, stimulating the need for engaging a younger and more diverse population. There is an

Current farming demographics in the United States indicate an aging and overwhelmingly white group of farmers, stimulating the need for engaging a younger and more diverse population. There is an opportunity to engage these populations through farm-based internship and apprenticeship programs, which are immersive programs on small-scale, sustainable farms. These programs are unique in providing hands-on training, housing, meals, and a stipend in return for labor, presenting a pathway to social empowerment. The potential outcomes of increasing diversity and inclusion in farm programs are absent from the research on the benefits of diversity and inclusion in other work environments, such as the corporate setting. This paper presents the results of a study aimed at determining levels of diversity and inclusion in United States farm-based internship programs, and the viability of these programs as an effective opportunity to engage marginalized young people in farming. The study of 13 farm owners and managers across the U.S. found that the participants are focused on fostering education and training, environmental benefits, and a sense of community in their respective programs. All participants either want to establish, or believe they currently have, an inclusive workplace on their farm, but also indicated a barrier to inclusivity in the lack of a diverse applicant pool. Future recommendations for removing that barrier and involving more young, diverse interns include increased outreach and access to these programs, the use of inclusive language, and further research.

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  • 2017-05

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Biodiesel: Sustainable Production and Commercialization for Community Support

Description

This research focused on how low-income communities in Ghana could convert Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) into biodiesel to supplement their energy demands. The 2016 World Energy Outlook estimates that about

This research focused on how low-income communities in Ghana could convert Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) into biodiesel to supplement their energy demands. The 2016 World Energy Outlook estimates that about 8 million Ghanaians do not have access to electricity while 82% of the population use biomass as cooking fuel. However, WVO is available in almost every home and is also largely produced by hotels and schools. There are over 2,700 registered hotels and more than 28,000 educational institutions from Basic to the Tertiary level. Currently, most WVOs are often discarded in open gutters or left to go rancid and later disposed of. Therefore, WVOs serve as cheap materials available in large quantities with a high potential for conversion into biodiesel and commercializing to support the economic needs of low-income communities. In 2013, a group of researchers at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana estimated that the country could be producing between 82,361 and 85,904 tons of biodiesel from WVOs generated by hotels alone in 2015. Further analysis was also carried out to examine the Ghana National Biofuel Policy that was introduced in 2005 with support from the Ghana Energy Commission. Based on the information identified in the research, a set of recommendations were made to help the central government in promoting the biodiesel industry in Ghana, with a focus on low-income or farming communities. Lastly, a self-sustaining biodiesel production model with high potential for commercialization, was proposed to enable low-income communities to produce their own biodiesel from WVOs to meet their energy demands.

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  • 2017-05

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The Future of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area: An Analysis of the Socioeconomic Implications of Desert, Green, or Expanded Cities

Description

As inhabitants of a desert, a sustainable water source has always been and will continue to be a crucial component in developing the cities Arizonans call home. Phoenix and the

As inhabitants of a desert, a sustainable water source has always been and will continue to be a crucial component in developing the cities Arizonans call home. Phoenix and the surrounding municipalities make up a large metropolitan area that continues to grow in spatial size and population. However, as climate change becomes more of an evident challenge, Arizona is forced to plan and make decisions regarding its ability to safely and efficiently maintain its livelihood and/or growth. With the effects of climate change in mind, Arizona will need to continue to innovatively and proactively address issues of water management and the effects of urban heat island (UHI). The objective of this thesis was to study the socioeconomic impacts of four extreme scenarios of the future Phoenix metropolitan area. Each of the scenarios showcased a different hypothetical extreme and uniquely impacted factors related to water management and UHI. The four scenarios were a green city, desert city, expanded city into desert land, and expanded city into agricultural land. These four scenarios were designed to emphasize different aspects of the urban water-energy-population nexus, as the future of the Phoenix metropolitan area is dynamic. Primarily, the Green City and Desert City served as contrasting viewpoints on UHI and water sustainability. The Expanded Cities showed the influence of population growth and land use on water sustainability. The socioeconomic impacts of the four scenarios were then analyzed. The quantitative data of the report was completed using the online user interface of WaterSim 5.0 (a program created by the Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) at Arizona State University). The different scenarios were modeled in the program by adjusting various demand and supply oriented factors. The qualitative portion as well as additional quantitative data was acquired through an extensive literature review. It was found that changing land use has direct water use implications; agricultural land overtaken for municipal uses can sustain a population for longer. Though, removing agricultural lands has both social and economic implications, and can actually cause the elimination of an emergency source. Moreover, it was found that outdoor water use and reclaimed wastewater can impact water sustainability. Practices that decrease outdoor water use and increase wastewater reclamation are currently occurring; however, these practices could be augmented. Both practices require changes in the publics' opinions on water use, nevertheless, the technology and policy exists and can be intensified to become more water sustainable. While the scenarios studied were hypothetical cases of the future of the Phoenix metropolitan area, they identified important circumscribing measures and practices that influence the Valley's water resources.

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  • 2016-12

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The Economic Feasibility of Indoor Vertical Farming

Description

The United Nation's forecasts the World's population to grow to 9 billion by year 2050. This statistic, coupled with the fact that current organic food production yields average near 40%

The United Nation's forecasts the World's population to grow to 9 billion by year 2050. This statistic, coupled with the fact that current organic food production yields average near 40% lower than conventionally grown crops, indicates that current methods of "sustainable" agriculture are sure to strip the planet of more wildlife habitat in order to feed so many mouths. Plus, erratic weather causing inconsistent crop production will leave vulnerable groups highly susceptible to famine. Agriculture today has a very complex supply chain that pulls resources from around the world to take to market. The Vertical Farm, LLC (TVF) seeks to change this reality and make 100% chemical free product, available locally to all major markets. The Vertical Farm, LLC is much different than a typical farm and operates on a soil-less hydroponic growing system. This system uses up to 95% less water and less than 50% of the fertilizer that an open-air organic farm would consume, by delivering all of the necessary nutrients directly to its crop's roots and recycling the solution in a closed loop system. TVF seeks to operate in unutilized warehouses and retail spaces, which will serve to control every aspects of the growing environment. This entails replacing sunlight with specially designed LED lights for horticulture applications and an HVAC system that creates the perfect growing conditions for plants to transpire. All of these capabilities translate into TVF being able to grow consistently year-round, regardless of weather, and produce quality local vegetables 30% faster than a conventional farm. In order to determine the economic feasibility of this business model, a prototype first had to be designed, which can be seen on Appendix A, B, & C. This system, designed in collaboration with University of Arizona's Controlled Environment Agricultural Center's Director, Gene Giacomelli PH. D., has determined that the roughly 1.75-acre system is capable of producing over 2.5 million pounds of lettuce every year. The footprint of the building includes all 3 major aspects of produce production, growing, harvesting, and packaging, and this vertically integrated business model allows The Vertical Farm to capture the most value, while taking its product to market. The net operating income of this prototype design is estimated to be 11.94%, with revenue in excess of $5.7 million and the largest costs being the LED lights and electricity. The Vertical Farm has mitigated its potentially largest cost, labor, by streamlining all processes of production in addition to employing the use of high-tech materials handling robots to transport crops within the facility. The Vertical Farm's production facility is not designed with human comfortability in mind (aisles are only 3' wide), but instead maximizes floor space utilization in order to produce as many pounds of product as possible. As a result, The Vertical Farm's prototype not only demonstrates the economic feasibility of indoor vertical farming today, but also gives significant merit to its growth potential to capture a portion of the $20 billion American vegetable market.

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  • 2016-12

The Climate Smart Farm: Incorporation of Rainwater Harvesting for Resilient Agriculture

Description

Due to recent changes in climate, hurricanes have become more violent and destructive in the tropical region of the Caribbean. Extreme weather events have destroyed freshwater sources in many islands,

Due to recent changes in climate, hurricanes have become more violent and destructive in the tropical region of the Caribbean. Extreme weather events have destroyed freshwater sources in many islands, affecting the overall food and water security of the region. More resilient forms of collecting freshwater for citizens and agriculture must be proposed in order to mitigate future weather impacts and increase future water security. Rainwater harvesting is an ideal and sustainable source of freshwater that can be adapted into existing households to help ease reliance on city water sources. Rainwater harvesting systems are effective sources of supplemental freshwater because they are easy to incorporate and inexpensive compared to other sources of freshwater. Dennis McClung, founder and owner of global charity, Garden Pool, has created the Climate Smart Farm, an agriculture system that incorporates rainwater harvesting to help create a more climate resilient farm. The Climate Smart Farm is adaptable and can be customized to incorporate solar energy, vertical gardening, aquaponics, hydroponics, plant propagation techniques, and more to grow crops in a more sustainable fashion. The system has recently been installed in the island of Barbuda, which was badly affected by the hurricanes in the summer of 2017. The system has been positively accepted by the country due to its ability to make agriculture simple and sustainable. It can be built with local materials, making the building process economy friendly. And with the addition of plant propagation techniques, the Climate Smart Farm can extend growing seasons and increase overall yields.

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  • 2018-05

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Addressing Structural Lags for Women: Agriculture, Climate Change, & the Case of St. Lucia

Description

The past decades have seen major changes with globalization, increased trade, digital technologies, and the increased threat of climate change consequences. These changes in trends have changed how the world

The past decades have seen major changes with globalization, increased trade, digital technologies, and the increased threat of climate change consequences. These changes in trends have changed how the world communicates, travels, produces, manufactures, and develops. Yet despite having the most advanced technologies and the most connected world to date, other aspects of development and quality of life have not kept up the pace in adapting and changing based on these trends. Specifically in developing countries, while the outside environment may be changing, the systems, structures, and societal values in place have not fully adapted. These aspects of society are naturally slower to change which can be dangerous when dealing with the current issues the world faces, for example the proven increase in climate change consequences. The consequences of slow or no changes at all in systems, structures, and societal values fall disproportionately on women who are often now bearing more responsibility without the benefits due to outdated structures that were developed based on other environments and priorities. This gap between the formal structures and the rapidly changing environments and its effect on women can be seen through analyzing specific common trends in developing countries, such as the feminization of agriculture and climate change. Analyzing this gap from these specific trends can give insight into possible solutions to both speed up the closing of the gap and lessen the burdens for women in the meantime. The role of informal or community networks should be considered as a possible way to do this. The case of St. Lucia and its experience with both the feminization of agriculture and the threat of climate change will be analyzed to understand how informal or community networks could serve to help close the gap and lessen the burdens for women.

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  • 2020-05

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A Comparative Analysis of the Human Capital in Costa Rica

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This paper seeks to explore connections between the industries and sociopolitical environment in Costa Rica and human capital. Human capital for the purpose of this paper is an individual or

This paper seeks to explore connections between the industries and sociopolitical environment in Costa Rica and human capital. Human capital for the purpose of this paper is an individual or a population’s ability to produce goods and services concerning human factors of productivity namely their health, education, or technical skillset. This question is interesting because improving human capital, in general, allows for more goods and services to be produced, and therefore higher welfare. This means recognizing conditions that improve human capital may provide a guide to enhanced prosperity. The paper identifies the characteristic industries in Costa Rica as tropical agriculture and small electronics manufacturing, provides insight as to how on the job training and externalities of these industries might affect human capital, and compares other similar nations’ data to world data provided by the world bank. The other central aim is to draw insight on how a nation having a standing military might impact human capital, which is relevant because Costa Rica abolished its military over fifty years ago.

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  • 2020-05

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A Green New Deal For Agriculture: The American Farm Bureau and the Demobilization of the American Farmer

Description

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is an organization promoting itself as "The National Voice of American Agriculture." However, small independent family farmers are losing their livlihoods, having their rural

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is an organization promoting itself as "The National Voice of American Agriculture." However, small independent family farmers are losing their livlihoods, having their rural communities destroyed, and are suffering from mental illness due to the covert actions of the AFBF. In reality, the AFBF is a national advocate for agricultural conglomerates and industrial agriculture practice. The AFBF drives the American agribusiness sector and demobilizes small farmer mobilization for any iteration of a modern and sustainable agricultural revolution. This thesis seeks to evaluate the ways in which the Farm Bureau demobilizes farmers in their ideology, education, and activism and seeks to recommend effective ways challenge the American Farm Bureau in pursuit of an agriculturally just Green New Deal (GND). A GND for agriculture emphasizes the need for independent family farmers and ensuing components of sustainability, regenerative practice, and an integrated, healthy food system.

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  • 2020-12

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Exploring Food Rescue Programs: Learning From Successful Experiences in Phoenix, Arizona, and New York City

Description

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, "food insecure homes" are households that are at times unable to acquire enough food to met the needs of their members. During

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, "food insecure homes" are households that are at times unable to acquire enough food to met the needs of their members. During the year 2010, this designation applied to roughly 14.5% of American households. In Arizona, the situation is even direr, with nearly 1 in 5 children falling into the range of food insecurity. These alarming statistics appear even graver in the light of the staggering amount of food that is wasted in America. In an attempt to combat both the problems of food insecurity and food waste, organizations have begun to focus their energy on "rescuing and repurposing food." In other words, these organization take prepared and perishable food from one location where it would go to waste, and redistribute it to places that it will be consumed, such as soup kitchens and shelters. The purpose of this thesis is to fully explore the successful workings of Waste Not, Inc. in Phoenix, AZ, and City Harvest in New York City, NY, and then make necessary critiques and draw implications for future food rescue programs.

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  • 2012-05