Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Geography of Christmas Dinner

The UK's turkey population has grown 951% since 1945. There are now 3.5 million turkeys in the UK. Most of them will be eaten next week - on Christmas Day.

If you asked most people in the UK where their Christmas dinner turkey came from the vast majority would say 'Norfolk'. And they would have a good chance of being correct. The eastern county of Norfolk is synonymous with the rearing of turkeys. But the eastern county isn't the only place in the UK where turkeys are raised. A new interactive map shows that large numbers of turkeys are also reared in neighboring Linconshire and across the country in Herefordshire.

Emu Analytics, the data science and software company, has published a map showing where the UK's traditional Christmas Dinner ingredients come from and how their production has changed since 1945. The Christmas Dinner interactive map not only shows you where your turkey was reared, it also allows you to see where your roast potatoes were grown and where your pigs in blanket were raised.

The Christmas Dinner interactive map visualizes where your Christmas dinner ingredients come from and also allows you to compare their 2018 agricultural production to that of 1945. You can therefore use the map to see if the areas associated with different livestock and crops has changed since World War II. You can also how their production has dramatically increased. For example in 1945 there were 1.6 million pigs. There are now 3.9 million pigs in England. Conversely the number of hectares given over to growing potatoes in 1945 was almost 4 times higher than it is today.

One thing that the map clearly reveals is that farming is much more intensively concentrated in certain areas today. Back in 1945 the farming of potatoes, pigs and turkeys was fairly evenly distributed across the country. In 2018 there is a less even distribution with livestock and crops being grown much more intensively in specific areas of the country.

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