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Major World Crops

Education Modules
Multimedia Resources for Ethnobotany Curriculum
World Food Crops
The number of edible plant species on earth is estimated to about 50,000. However, worldwide agriculture and human diet are dominated by a very small number of plant crops. These crops play an enormous role in shaping parts of the cultures in which they are consumed, and similarly, human cultures have played an important role in shaping the diversity and varieties of these crops. This episode discusses some the world's major world crops and examines the ways in which both their use and their production shape local cultural traditions. We draw particular attention to the ways in which the relationships between crops and cultures change as both move through space and time.

Production Credits

Presented by:

  • Tamara Ticktin

Themes and Content by:

  • Isabella Abbott

  • Al Keali'i Chock

  • Will McClatchey

  • Mylien T. Nguyen

  • Tamara Ticktin

  • David Webb

Special Presentations and Content by:

  • Tony A.B. Cunningham

  • Catherine Davenport

  • Orou Gaoue

  • Lisa X. Gollin

  • Y. Han Lau

  • Spencer Leinweber

  • Mark Merlin

  • Levon ‘ohai

  • Joseph Ostraff

  • Melinda Ostraff

  • Orlo Steele

  • Clay Trauernicht

  • Art Whistler

  • Namaka Whitehead

  • Kawika Winter

Post Production Critique by:

  • Al Keali'i Chock

  • Momi Kamahele

  • Kiope Raymond

  • Botany 105 Students (Fall 2005)

Camera Work by:

  • David Reedy

  • David Strauch

  • Michael B. Thomas

Video and Sound Editing by:

  • Markus Faigle

  • David Reedy

  • David Strauch

  • Michael B. Thomas

Audio Production by:

  • Will McClatchey

  • David Reedy

Consulting by:

  • Edo Biagoni

  • Kim Bridges

  • Pauline Chinn

  • Valerie McClatchey

  • Hae Okimoto

  • Nelda Quinsell

  • Ingelia White

Funding provided by:

  • University of Hawai'i, Department of Botany

  • University of Hawai'i, Information Technology Services

  • University of Hawai'i, College of Natural Sciences

  • University of Hawai'i, Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs

  • National Center for Academic Transformation

  • University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Chancellor

Inspiration from:

  • Isabella Abbott

  • Michael Balick

  • Brad Bennett

  • Brent Berlin

  • Paul Cox

  • Memory Elvin-Lewis

  • Timothy Johns

  • Beatrice Krauss

  • Walter Lewis

  • Richard Evans Schultes

  • Gail Wagner

  • The Society for Economic Botany


Balick, M. & P.Cox. 1996. Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. Scientific American, New York. Pages 89-91

Supplemental Readings

On-Line Resources

Dave Reedy,
May 29, 2012, 1:30 PM