Category Archives: Latin America

Doing it Right in Argentina: Raising Cattle on Grass

Forgive me for romanticizing raising cattle the old fashioned way, folks, but this video is downright charming. The word is gaucho, which means “A cowboy of the South American pampas”.

This is yet another artistically done, excellent film from The Perennial Plate, which helps educate us about how farming is done around the world.

The Moray: Did the Inca Study Climate Conditions on Crops?

photo: wikipedia
“This large temperature difference was possibly used by the Inca to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops.”

One of many fascinating archeological spots left behind by the Incas is Moray, near Cuzco, Peru. There are four amphitheater like series of concentric circles terraced into the ground at an elevation of 11,500 feet. Though it is debated, a popular theory is that this was an agricultural testing station of micro-climates, since the temperatures varied by as much as 27-60 degrees Fahrenheit within the stations from top to bottom and they included a sophisticated irrigation system. It might be compared to a modern day greenhouse. Due to design or location, the structure never floods, even during the rainy season. The Incas studied and used hundreds of varieties of maize and thousands of potato varieties, leaving behind a priceless legacy for mankind, especially in our modern age of climate change.

Additional Information: here, here, and here. Additional photo here.

UPDATE 8/3/2011: A new book by a civil engineer from Boulder, Ken Wright, claims to have disproven the Moray site as having an agricultural purpose. He and his wife, Ruth, have researched the area and came to the conclusion that it was a religious site for water worship.

FOCUS on Latest FAO Report: High Red Bean Prices in Central America

In Central America prices of main staples at high levels

Prices of red beans, an important source of protein in the diets of the subregion, remained generally stable in March and April, reflecting new supplies from the 2011 secondary season harvest, but were still at very high levels, twice those of a year ago. The increased level of price is a consequence of the reduced 2011 main crop season affected by adverse weather.

source: FAO