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Geography of food

The geography of food is a field of human geography. It focuses on patterns of food production and consumption on the local to global scale. Tracing these complex patterns helps geographers understand the unequal relationships between developed and developing countries in relation to the innovation, production, transportation, retail and consumption of food. It is also a topic that is becoming increasingly charged in the public eye. The movement to reconnect the 'space' and 'place' in the food system is growing, spearheaded by the research of geographers.

Spatial variations in food production and consumption practices have been noted for thousands of years. In fact, Plato commented on the destructive nature of agriculture when he referred to the soil erosion from the mountainsides surrounding Athens, stating "[In previous years] Athens yielded far more abundant produce. In comparison of what then was, there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body; all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left". Societies beyond those of ancient Greece have struggled under the pressure to feed expanding populations. The people of Easter Island, the Maya of Central America and most recently the inhabitants of Montana have been experiencing similar difficulties in production due to several interconnecting factors related to land and resource management. These events have been extensively studied by geographers and other interested parties (the study of food has not been confined to a single discipline, and has received attention from a huge range of diverse sources).

Modern geographers initially focused on food as an economic activity, especially in terms of agricultural geography. It was not until recently that geographers have turned their attention to food in a wider sense: "The emergence of an agro-food geography that seeks to examine issues along the food chain or within systems of food provision derives, in part, from the strengthening of political economy approaches in the 1980s".



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