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Category > Communications Posted 14 Sep 2017 My Price 10.00

I need help with a discussion assignment

or this week’s DB, please read the chapter on agriculture in your textbook and then watch at least three short videos from Frontline World (available at and/or W.H. Freeman (some suggestions are listed below). 


You should discuss one or more of the following questions: 

1.) What are some explanations (physical and socio-political) for the geographic distribution of various forms of agriculture across the Earth? Has this distribution changed during the last several hundred years? If so, how and why? What is a socio-political explanation for the similar patterns of agriculture that are found is similar climate zones around the world? Please use specific examples from your text and from the assigned films (when possible).

Here are the films:  

California: The Immigration Dilemma 

Brazil:  Cutting the wire 

Mongolia: A land without fences 

Japan: the slow life 

This   Land is Ours: Who should own Namibia’s farms 

Guatemala /   Mexico: Can Fair Trade Save the Farm? 

I'll send you the chapter copies.


orty years ago, Edward R. Murrow produced the television documentary "Harvest of Shame," which showed the plight of migrant farm workers in the United States. Americans were shocked at the working and living conditions. In Murrow's film, one farmer says, "We used to own our slaves; now we just rent them."

Tremendous progress has been made since then. Farm workers can unionize. They receive overtime. They have bathrooms in the fields. And with a few exceptions, legal rights apply to everyone. Once an employer hires somebody -- whether they are here legally or not -- the law is the law. But the reality is that many employers take advantage of undocumented workers.


"They (undocumented workers) are afraid to speak up, because they are afraid that if they do, somebody will get them deported," Dolores Huerta told me. Huerta worked with César Chávez in the 1960s to help unionize farm workers.


I wanted to find out how the economic downturn was affecting undocumented farm workers and the farms where they work. There's no better place to investigate than California, where perhaps one-quarter of the nation's estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants live. I spent a week traveling through the San Joaquin Valley -- the agricultural epicenter of California -- to better understand the complexities of the situation.



For immigrant workers, jobs are scarce, living conditions are difficult, and there is a constant fear of being deported.


Not surprisingly, times are tough for undocumented workers. Wages are low, living conditions remain difficult, and there is a lingering fear of deportation. During the recession, some farm workers told me they are getting less hours. But most still have jobs. After all, farming is about as recession-proof an industry as you can get. "People always have to eat," a farmer succinctly told me.


Still, you might think that as unemployment creeps higher and higher, more Americans would start applying for farm jobs. Not so. Every farmer I met said they can't hire Americans. Why not? It's backbreaking work for low pay.


Free market enthusiasts argue that higher wages will attract American workers. But there's a problem with that. As one farmer said to me, "Why don't they (farm workers) get paid an awful lot of money? Because the American consumer wants cheap food."


I did meet many farmers who treated their workers fairly, with decent wages and even retirement packages. Most of them remain economically dependent on immigrant labor.


"I want people to be able to come to this country, and I want them to be able to be here legally ... because we need the workers very definitely," farmer Robin Butterfield told me. "It's better for them. It's better for us."


Many of the undocumented farm workers I spoke with seemed content with their situations. They told me that life is much better in California than back home in places like Mexico or Guatemala.


But when I visited small rural communities like Tooleville -- a two-street town with dirt roads, no sidewalks, and no clean drinking water -- I couldn't help but think of Murrow's film. Tooleville didn't feel all that removed from some poor villages I've seen in parts of the developing world in Asia and Latin America.


Murrow ended his documentary by saying: "The people you have seen have the strength to harvest your fruit and vegetables. They do not have the strength to influence legislation."

A half-century later, that observation seems even more appropriate, as the immigration debate drones on summer after summer with little political resolve to find a solution.



Status NEW Posted 14 Sep 2017 08:09 AM My Price 10.00

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