(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘food industry

“First we eat, then we do everything else”*…


food flow

How food flows between counties in the U.S.: each line represents the transportation of all food commodities, along transit routes, like roads or railways.


My team at the University of Illinois just developed the first high-resolution map of the U.S. food supply chain.

Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S. – grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items.

To build the map, we brought together information from eight databases, including the Freight Analysis Framework from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which tracks where items are shipped around the country, and Port Trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which shows the international ports through which goods are traded…

Food counties

These nine counties — mostly in California — are most central to the overall structure of the food supply network. A disruption to any of these counties may have ripple effects for the food supply chain of the entire country.


Megan Konar, one of the principal investigators on the study, explains in fascinating detail how food gets to your home… and lists some of the bottlenecks and vulnerabilities to which we’d be wise to pay attention.  Read the study in full here.

* M. F. K. Fisher


As we dig in, we might send well-preserved birthday greetings to Nicolas Appert; he was born on this date in 1749.  A confectioner and inventor, he is known as “the father of canning.”

In 1795, Napoleon, who famously understood that an army travels on its stomach, had offered a prize of 12,000 francs for a method of preserving food and transporting it to its armies.  Appert, who worked 14 years to perfect a method of storing food in sterilized glass containers, won the award in 1810.

Interestingly, that same year (1810), Appert’s friend and agent, Peter Durand, took the invention to the other side.  He switched the medium from glass to metal and presented it to Napoleon’s enemies, the British– scoring  a patent (No. 3372) from King George for the preservation of food in metal (and glass and pottery) containers… the tin can.

One of Appert’s/Durand’s first cans




Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 17, 2019 at 1:01 am

You deserve a break today…

From ingredients to consumption patterns, an infographic with fun facts like…

From OnlineSchools.org;  Click either image or here to see it in its appetite-inhibiting entirety. (via Geeks Are Sexy)

As we rethink our lunch plans, we might recall that it was on this date in 1879 that James Ritty, a saloon keeper in Dayton, Ohio, and his brother John, a skilled mechanic, patented the first cash register, “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier.”  The company they formed to exploit the invention didn’t prosper; in 1881 they sold the patent to a group of investors who built the enterprise that became the National Cash Register Company (NCR).

Replica of the first Ritty machine (which had no cash drawer) source: Smithsonian Institution

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