UWEC GEOG 369 - The March of Empire (6 pages)

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The March of Empire



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The March of Empire

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Pages:
6
School:
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Course:
Geog 369 - Geography of Food
Geography of Food Documents

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the global market robert r alvarez The March of Empire SU M M E R 2007 Mangos Avocados and the Politics of Transfer GASTRONOMICA 28 According to the truism we are what we eat These days most of us delight in eating plenty of guacamole and mango chutney But where did those avocados and mangos originate When did they shift from being exotic intruders to part of our daily diets What were the politics of their transfer Most of us haven t a clue In fact deliberate plant transfer into the United States dates back to the late nineteenth century to the period when Darwinism spurred scientific interest in new typologies and in the recording of new species This seemingly innocent and objective process evolved into a dynamic global strategy of plant exploration and collection that transformed landscapes and yielded new hybrid vegetable and fruit varieties In the United States plant transfer had a clear economic base the us Department of Agriculture usda wanted to provide American farmers with seeds and plants for the creation of new markets As a result of usda policy farming and the national landscape changed dramatically if gradually New hybrids that were developed in this country became staples in regional and national markets and ultimately engendered a transformation in global agriculture The pioneers who sought out nonindigenous plants were by and large men of creative vision and imagination The collection of plants and their transfer initially belonged to a burgeoning botanical science in which new plants were added to growing and impressive typologies But economic reasoning no less than scientific curiosity shaped the plant hunters activity The significant funding involved in organizing their travels and disseminating their work required administration by government agencies that imposed a variety of regulations and controls Today s network of food regulations reflects a hierarchy tied not only to health and safety but also to economics and control In the late



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