Monday, December 20, 2010

20th of December the 2010

Today, Kelly has been with us. Then, Kelly has given us the instructions about the project. And Paqui has explained how to do the project at home. The project is about agriculture and stockbreeding and we have to hand in the project on Wednesday, the 12th of Jannuary. Then, Paqui has written the definition of organic agriculture on the blackboard. Afterwards, Kelly has read the introduction about the stockbreeding. Then, Enrique and I have read the types of stockbreeding. And while we have read Paqui has written a scheme about the types of stockbreeding on the blackboard. Then, some people doesn't understand the differences between traditional and commercial stockbreeding, intensive and extensive stockbreeding and stabled and semistabled systems. Afterwards, we have done the exercise 1 on page 35 orally. Finally, I have asked a question for Paqui about the project.

My project is going to be a little of stockbreeding and a little of agriculture. The steps that I follow are :
-First, I will prepare a previous scheme of my project.
-Second, I will prepare the questions that I will ask to my grandfather in Spanish.
- Third, I will change the interview in english and finally I will do the project with my questions and the steps that Paqui has given in the class.

Today is the last day of the term and the last day of the year. This class was very interesting.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

More about GMO

Here you have some more information about GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) and the main problems their use entails:

- This poster shows how GMO crops are made: 

- This is a short video of the environmental NGO Greenpeace about GMO: 

Greenpeace has led an international campaign to present a petition to the European Union Commission to stop GMO crops in the European Union. This has been the first European Citizens´ Initiative. More than 1 million people have signed this petition:  

On the other hand, we have the Spanish case: Spains belongs to the few European countries that have allowed GMO crops. Spain produces 75% of the GMO corn produced in the European Union. This GMO corn is used to feed cattle and it represents 30% of all the corn cultivated in Spain. Spain is one of the few European Union members in favour of promoting GMO crops, although the oficial speech of the Spanish government is completely different. Some recent documents revealed by Wikileaks refer to the Spanish government´s policy in favour of GMO:

- On the following links you can read about the pro and against  arguments  used to defend or to demand the prohibition of GMO:  

And finally, here you have some cartoons about GMO and transgenic seeds:

The last one refers to the pollution of non-GMO crops with transgenic seeds:

Friday, December 17, 2010


Today we have seen a video about the ilegal cocoa plantation that there are in the Ivory coast, the owners of this
has some people as slaves.
The video was about some people that have talked about how works in this places.
They have explained us that if they scaped the owners caught and killed them and if they don't work enough, the owners beaten with the belt.
They have never eaten chocolate.They works for five years and they didn't pay them.
Therefore we must think that the 80% works for us and we mustn't buy things like chocolate nestle.
Paqui have explained us that it not happen only in the cocoa plantation, in bannana, rubber and sugarcane plantation also.

Organic farming

Commercial agriculture has reached the objective of producing a lot of products at a low price. We can choose between a big number of products and we can eat vegetables and fruits all year round. But in order to grow the crops faster, farmers use a lot of pesticides and chemical fertilizers many times.

There is an alternative way of cultivating the land: organic agriculture. Organic agriculture is a type of farming that consists in cultivating the land ecologically. This means taking care of the soil by  using natural fertilizers (manure), natural methods to control the plagues and respecting the natural cycle of plants. The four principles of organic agriculture are Elath, ecology, fairness and care.

As people are more and more worried about health, organic agriculture has increased considerably in the most developed countries. Here you have some maps and graphs where you can observe the evolution of organic agriculture in Europe and Spain:

Evolution of organic agriculture in Spain in the last 20 years:

More information about organic farming in the world on the following links: 

- Global Organic Farming Statistics and News:

-  International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)

Organic farmers need a certification to start selling their products as organic. These are the labels that certify organic products in Spain and in Europe.  

The following report refutes the idea that organic agriculture can´t produce enough food to feed people. Researchers of the Universite of Michigan have shown that organic agriculture can yield up to three times more than convencional agriculture on the same plot of land:

And finally, the reasons why organic food  is more expensive than conventional food:

Challenge number 2

This week´s challenge will be about stockbreeding or animal husbandry. Since the domestication of the first animals in Prehistory, humans have learned to breed a large amount of animal species. Your work will consist in guessing the names of some of these animals, explaining how these animals are used and answering some questions about animal husbandry.

These are the photos:








And here you have the questions:


How do we call the breeding of birds in English?


How do we call the breeding of silkworms in English?


How do we call the breeding of honey bees in English?


How do we call the breeding of rabbits in English?


In the town of Caudete de las Fuentes there is a biofactory where a species of animals is bred with a purpose related to agriculture. What animals do they breed in this biofactory? What are they used for?

Good luck!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Working conditions in plantations

One of the main features of plantation agriculture is cheap labor. Farmers work the lands owned by multinationals  with their hands in really hard conditions (heat, humidity, long working days…) and they receive very little money in exchange. Sometimes workers are slaves. Many people in the richest countries are not aware that they are consuming products made by slaves (or they prefer not to think about this).

Here you have some links where you can learn more about working conditions in the plantations:




And this is a video that shows some former slaves who worked in a cocoa plantation in the Ivory Coast. They were freed by an antislavery organization. The video is short and it´s subtitled and you won´t find difficulties to understand what their experience was like. I strongly recommend you to watch it: 

What can consumers do to stop abuse and help improving the working conditions of the workers of the plantations?

In developed countries consumers can choose among a large variety of products and their choices can put presure on those multinationals that use cheap or slave labor in their plantations. Choosing a specific brand of chocolate or coffee is a personal decision and everyone has to decide if he/she prefers to buy products  produced by slaves or products made by farmers who receive a fair salary. 

National and international organizations have started boycott campaigns to make the multinationals change their policy towards plantation workers. This is a link that suggests some actions people can start to fight against unfair situations in plantations: 

And finally, this is a list of places where you can buy fair trade products, that is, products cultivated or made by workers who have been fairly payed and whose rights have been respected. Many of these products are also organic (produced ecologically, respecting the natural cicle and without using chemical fertilizers and pesticides): 

Bananas and plantains

This is a very short commercial that shows the main physical differences between what we call "bananas" in Spanish ("plantains" in English) and what we call "plátanos "("bananas" in English):

Plantains are male bananas and they are commonly used to cook. And bananas are the sweet fruit. Here you have an article about plantains: 

And here you have a more detailed report about nutritional differences between bananas ("plátanos") and plantains ("bananas"):  

15th of December, 2010

Today we have started checking two exercises from page 42, the exercises were about subsistence and commercial agriculture. The exercises have been corrected by Laura Bustamante and Beatriz Yuste. With this exercises we have learned that subsistence agriculture is oriented to the basic necessities of the farmers, and commercial agriculture is oriented to sold the products in markets. We have seen a powerpoint about rice's plantations in asian countries. In the powerpoint we have also saw the plantation agriculture of coffee, tea, cocoa, pineapples, oil palm an another things. With this powerpoint we have learned that industries like Nestlé use slaves in plantations of cocoa, like the plantations in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Paqui has said that in contries like germany only have legal products of Nestle. Paqui has said that she hasn't buy products of Nestlé. Today Ana has stayed with us.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hydroponics and aeroponics

Did you know that it´s possible to cultivate plants without soil? These innovative techniques are hydroponics and aeroponics.

Hydroponics consists in growing plants into porous materials, such as sand, pebbles, coconut husk or mineral wool (sponges made from natural or synthetic minerals). These materials allow the roots of the plant to receive water and the nutrient solutions they need to grow.


If you want to try hydroponics at home, this link will provide you with the basic information to start: 

In aeroponics  the roots of the plants hang in the open air. Farmers spray the roots by providing the plants with all the nutrients they need to grow.  

The Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development (Neiker-Tecnalia) has developed a project in collaboration with Newco, a company specialized in producing potatoes. They have obtained the first harvests of aeroponic potatoes.

If you want to get more information about aeroponic potatoes, visit the following links:

Monday, December 13, 2010

13th of December, 2010

Hello! Sorry, I couldn't write the journal before.
Today, Kelly has been in the class but she has arrived a bit late. We have started the class checking one exercise from the previous day about the types of rural habitats. It was very easy. Then, Paqui has turned on the computer and we have seen a powerpoint about the types of agriculture. In this powerpoint, we have learned with pictures what is the subsistence agriculture and commercial agriculture. The subsistence agriculture is a type of agriculture whose farmers produce all they need to survive and another type is commercial agriculture that consists in produced to sell the products on the market. Paqui has explained the slash and burn agriculture and that this includes deforestation too. She has explained the differences between that system of fertilization and the extensive dry-land agriculture. After that, we have seen the wet rice agriculture which is mostly practice in China, India, etc. We have also seen two types of commercial agriculture: specialized agriculture that is dedicated to monoculture in large estates (wheat, corn, cotton...) and the mediterranean that includes vines, wheat and olive trees (Dry-land products) and fruit and vegetables (Irrigated crops). Then, we have written on the glossary some new words from the vocabulary, like: Fallow-barbecho, Rice paddy-arrozal, To harvest- cosechar, To reap-segar, Slash-tala, and the literal meaning of: Slash and burn agriculture- agricultura itinerante sobre rozas o cenizas. Finally, Paqui has given us two exercises for homework.
I think this class has been very interesting because agriculture is one of the most important things here, so it's very important to know all its types to distinguish which of them we have... etc.

Here is the powerpoint that we have not finished:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Challenge number 1

This first challenge will consist in guessing the names in English of some of the most common tools and machines used in agriculture. There are some tools you know from last year and some new ones. Please, leave your answers: 











And this last photograph shows one of the most common images in the countryside. What´s this?

We´ll give the correct answers on Monday. Cheer up with the search!


Today in Social Sciences we have checked the activities from last day. Then we have seen a Powerpoint presentation about "Agrarian landscapes".
In the powerpoint we have seen many things like:



-dry-land crop.

-irrigated crops.

-Drip irrigation

In my opinion the Powepoint presentation was very interesting :)
Then we have seen same interesting pictures.
When the Powerpoint presentation finished, we have started the next point of the unit "Types of agriculture",
Paqui has said that will be intresting. 
After that we have read and paqui has explained us some thinks.Finally paqui has given us one exercise of the review on the page 42 and read the examples of subsistence agriculture on the page 32 and 33 for homework.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Agrarian landscapes

This is a Powerpoint presentation to review all the concepts we learned about agrarian landscapes last Friday. Pay special attention to irrigation techniques. See you next Friday.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Today we have followed with the unit 3. We have corrected the two exercises of physical factors in agriculture. We have also given human factors, and this has helped us to get more information. Some people have read the agrarian landscapes and its elements and Paqui has explained it. There are five types and with these different types we have seen some fotographies identifying their main elements.Also we have learned new words and we have written in the glossary. Finally Paqui has given us exercises for the long weekend. Today this class has been interesting.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010



Today in Social Sciences Paqui has given us the exams.
The exam was about economy. It was not to difficult. I've gotten  a 9.2.
One interesting thing is that Laura Muñoz has gotten a 10 in the exam, and in Social Sciences and with Paqui it is very difficult. Very good Laura! Congratulations!
Afterwards we have asked all our questions about the exam
("You have made a mistake, Paqui"; "you have not calculate the mark properly" and all this types of questions) Paqui  has collected the exams. All of them were more or less OK.
Afterwards we've started Unit 3 about the Primary sector, this unit is not so interesting like Unit 2, but it is a good unit.
We have read the page 30 on the book and we have checked the excercises one and two that we had for homework.
Afterwards we have copied some notes on the blackboard. One new thing we have learnt today is that mining is not a activity from the Primary sector, because the minerals need a transformation and all the transformation of raw materials are activities included in the Secondary sector.

That's all.

Bye, bye
Sorry  for the delay we were  buying Cristina's present.