Berry Interesting Road Trip

BUSINESS

Some 80% of U.S. fruits and vegetables are grown on large farms and trucked hundreds of miles to their final destination. To track a crop’s travels, two Nat Geo reporters followed a truck filled with strawberries from a central California field to a store near the magazine’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. (National Geographic News)

Use our MapMaker Interactive to follow the berries from farm to fork!

Discussion Ideas

route map

 

 

  • Based on climate, what other nations do you think have strawberry-exporting regions?
    • The top strawberry-producing nations are:
      • United States (dominated by California, with Florida and Oregon the other leading strawberry-producing states)
      • Spain (“dry summer” climate)
      • Turkey (“dry summer” climate)
      • Egypt (“dry arid” climate)
      • Mexico (specifically, the state of Michoacan, which has a “dry, semi-arid” climate)

 

  • From farm to fork, what jobs does the strawberry industry help sustain? (A lot—these are just some ideas!)
    • botanists, chemists, pedologists, and other scientists: Scientists help companies develop strawberries that can withstand long journeys across the country, as well as frosts, insects, and other pests. This isn’t always popular with consumers. Read more about the controversy here.
    • growers and agribusinesses: Businesses develop strawberry plants and sell them to farmers to plant in the field. (Strawberries aren’t planted as seeds in the field.) Read more about cultivating and harvesting strawberries from a grower here.
    • engineers and workers who build farming equipment and vehicles: Strawberry beds are drip-irrigated and coated with plastic wrap before planting. The small plants are planted by a tractor. They also require irrigation, some nutrients, and pest management.
    • farmers: Farmers and agribusinesses must balance environmental, financial, and health concerns when choosing to grow strawberries.
    • farmworkers: Strawberries were once nicknamed the “devil’s fruit” due to the backbreaking physical difficulty in cultivating and harvesting the crop.
    • truck drivers: This is the part of the supply chain that the Nat Geo News reporters followed!
    • logistics and service industry personnel: Those cross-country deliveries rely not only on $900 tanks of gas, but hotels, restaurants, mechanics, and safe roads.
    • wholesale businesses: These businesses, sometimes the same as farmers and agribusinesses, sell strawberries to retail, restaurant, or other food-related businesses (such as frozen food companies or spice/flavoring companies). Wholesale can also include farmers markets.
    • retail businesses: Supermarkets, gas stations, and convenience stores!
Photograph by Sharon Mollerus, courtesy Wikimedia (CC-BY-2.0)

Photograph by Sharon Mollerus, courtesy Wikimedia (CC-BY-2.0)

 

This week is Geography Awareness Week, celebrating the Geography of Food! This week, our Current Event Connection will focus on Food in the News, exploring food as a dynamic, diverse interconnection between health, politics, the environment, and business.

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT:

Nat Geo: Berry Road Trip

Nat Geo MapMaker Interactive: Berry Long Journey

Nat Geo: Specialty Coffee Market is Full of (Good) Beans (compare the supply chains of coffee and strawberries!)

Nat Geo: Food Education resources

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