Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells in an effort to produce energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth.
Historically, people secured food through two methods: hunting and gathering, and agriculture. Today, most of the food energy consumed by the world population is supplied by the food industry.
Worldwide more human beings gain their livelihood from agriculture than any other endeavor; the majority are self-employed subsistence farmers living in the tropics]citation needed[. While growing food for local consumption is the core of tropical agriculture, cash crops (normally crops grown for export) are also included in the definition.
When people discuss the tropics, it is normal to use generalized labels to group together similar tropical areas. Common terms would include the humid-tropics (rainforests); the arid-tropics (deserts and dry areas); or monsoon zones (those areas that have well defined wet/dry seasons and experience monsoons). Such labeling is very useful when discussing agriculture, because what works in one area of the world will normally work in a similar area somewhere else, even if that area is on the opposite side of the globe.
The following is a list of banana cultivars and the groups into which they are classified. Almost all modern cultivated varieties (cultivars) of edible bananas and plantains are hybrids and polyploids of two wild, seeded banana species, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. Cultivated bananas are almost always seedless (parthenocarpic) and hence sterile, so they are propagated vegetatively. They are classified into groups according to a genome-based system introduced by Ernest Cheesman, Norman Simmonds, and Ken Shepherd, which indicates the degree of genetic inheritance from the two wild parents and the number of chromosomes (ploidy). Cultivars derived from Musa acuminata are more likely to be used as dessert bananas, while those derived from Musa balbisiana and hybrids of the two are usually plantains or cooking bananas.
Banana plants were originally classified by Linnaeus into two species, which he called Musa paradisiaca – those used as cooking bananas (plantains), and M. sapientum – those used as dessert bananas. The primary center of diversity of cultivated bananas is Southeast Asia. Botanical exploration of this area led to many more species being named, along with subspecies and varieties. However, this approach proved inadequate to deal with the large number of cultivated varieties (cultivars) which were discovered, and many of the names later proved to be synonyms. Furthermore, it was discovered that most cultivated bananas are actually hybrids between two wild species, M. acuminata and M. balbisiana, and that Linnaeus' two "species" were both this hybrid, which is now called M. × paradisiaca. Unlike the wild species, which have seeds, cultivated bananas are almost always seedless (parthenocarpic) and hence sterile, so they have to be propagated vegetatively.
The Boston Fruit Company (1885-1899) was a fruit production and import business based in the port of Boston, Massachusetts. Andrew W. Preston and nine others established the firm to ship bananas and other fruit from the West Indes to north-eastern America. At the time, the banana was "considered a rare and delicious treat in the United States. The major challenge for all banana importers was to get the highly perishable fruit to the American market before it spoiled." Lorenzo Dow Baker served as president of the company and manager of the tropical division. By 1895, "the corporation own[ed] nearly 40,000 acres, included in 35 plantations, and deep-water frontage [in Jamaica] in the harbors of Port Antonio and Port Morant. They own[ed] their own lines of steamships, which they operate[d] between those ports and Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Besides carrying their own fruits, they carr[ied] some outside freight, and afford passenger accommodations for many tourists visiting the West-India Islands."
In Boston, "Long Wharf [was] the headquarters of the tropical fruit trade, and here the Boston Fruit Company, an association of Boston merchants and West India fruit-growers, receive[d] their cargoes of bananas, cocoanuts, oranges, lemons, and kindred fruits." In 1888 "a recent Boston paper, referring to new tropical fruits for that market, [said]: 'Two new varieties of tropical fruit will be introduced into this market by the middle of May, by the Boston Fruit Company; namely, mangoes and the avocado pear. The latter, which is ordinary pear shaped, is as large as an English pound pear, and weighs from one to two pounds. When ripe the fruit is generally green, but sometimes it is streaked. After they have been gathered a few days they become soft arid may be eaten with pepper and salt. The avocado tastes somewhat like butter or marrow and hence it is called vegetable marrow.'"
A banana plantation is a commercial agricultural facility found in tropical climates where bananas are grown.
Banana plants may grow with varying degrees of success in diverse climatic conditions, but commercial banana plantations are primarily found in equatorial regions, in banana exporting countries. The four leading banana export countries worldwide are Ecuador, Costa Rica, Philippines, and Colombia. Ecuador provides more than 33% of the global banana export. In 2004, banana producing countries totaled 130. Production, as well as exports and imports of bananas, are nonetheless concentrated in a few equatorial countries. 75% of total banana production in 2004 was generated in 10 counties. India, Ecuador, Brazil and China produced half of total bananas. Latin American and Caribbean countries lead banana production up to the 1980s, and Asian nations took the lead in banana production during the 1990s. African production levels have remained mostly unchanged.
The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US), America, or simply the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, 16 territories, a federal district, and various overseas extraterritorial jurisdictions. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 316 million people, the United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Paleo-indians migrated from Asia to what is now the US mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The ensuing war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first 10 amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.