What Crop Best Reflects Your Country?

The Food Maps are a collection of country and continent maps that are made using ingredients to show staple crops of each world geographic region, as reported in National Geographic magazine. 

The United States is made of corn; Italy, tomatoes; and India, rendered in spices, while New Zealand is mapped in kiwifruit, and South America in citrus. 

Keep in mind that the foods most commonly associated with a particular place aren’t necessarily native to that spot of the globe. A majority of tomatoes, for example, come from South America, yet today they’re an integral part of Italian cuisine.   

On the other hand, for their map of the United States authors Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin chose as their medium an assemblage of corn varieties and corn-derived products. Today, no other country produces more corn than America. The crop initially made its way north from Mexico some 7,000 years ago and is now grown throughout the United States in every state, from New Hampshire to Hawaii. 

These maps' influence could go far beyond just an interesting medium for art. They could be used to educate kids as well as adults as to the origins of our foods, and better yet, be used to remind people that foods we eat start on farms across the globe. "Food Sense," a PBS special, had its origins in a Los Angeles Times column that reported that a vast majority of elementary school students had no or little idea where foods came from. 

Our schools, our supermarkets and our trade groups have a responsibility to educate and reinforce knowledge about just where our foods come from, including which trees, which fields and which countries are sources of our food.

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