Design by Conscious: Agriculture

Agriculture, C. 1,600,000 BCE by Unknown

Cultivating naturally occurring crops or livestock for use as food or raw materials

Agriculture in Vietnam with farmers by  Dennis Jarvis  ( see original file ).

Agriculture in Vietnam with farmers by Dennis Jarvis (see original file).

The first sustained agricultural efforts occurred around 10,000 BCE in the Fertile Crescent, an area of the modern-day Middle East that includes the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Levant, and the Nile River delta. Agriculture also arose independently in China in around 8000 BCE, and in the Americas before 3000 BCE. Early farmers learned to take wild plants, such as rye, chickpeas, and flax, and plant them for harvest, thereby reducing the need to travel to new locations to find food sources. The domestication of animals provided additional sources of food, products, and labor.

Several theories have been put forward as to why humankind made the switch to agriculture. One argument is that it was a means of coping with a crisis of overpopulation after the development of sedentism.

Another theory posits that climate change at the end of an Ice Age led to the spread of forests, segmenting previously open ranges. This encouraged sedentism and territoriality, which led to the protection and propogation of local food resources.

Agriculture forever changed the way in which humanity sourced food. By the Bronze Age (c. 3500 - 1000 BCE), Middle Eastern civilizations obtained the majority of their dietary needs from farmed food supplies. While this reliance upon agricultural production for food has produced sometimes disastrous famines and negative ecological consequences, it has also allowed the human population to expand tremendously. In the twentieth century, advances in farming techniques led to a massive increase in crop yields, spurring a population boom that is still ongoing.

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Article by Mark Theoharis. Mark is a writer and comer attorney living in Kansas, United States. He writes about legal issues for Law firm businesses, and professionals who need to reach lay audiences.