Why is agriculture relevant?

Do you like food? That sounds like an obvious question. Everyone I know likes food. Even if they didn’t guess what we all eat it anyway. We need it to live. Everything living does, in some way eat. We’ve established the need for food so where does agriculture come in? Well according to everyone’s favorite online encyclopedia wikipedia “Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants and fungi for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinal plants and other products used to sustain and enhance human life.” That sounds like a substantially important idea to me. Historians typically date the beginning of agriculture to somewhere around 10,000 years ago. This also happens to coincide with the formations of the earliest civilizations that have been discovered. From that we tend to understand that the specialization that was necessary for these civilizations could not have occurred without agriculture. The ability to reliably generate a surplus of food allowed humans to gather in larger groups. This led to the need for government and record keeping. This also led to a gathering of knowledge. This in turn fostered the creation of new technology. That new technology was used to expand territory and raise the standard of living. This mean the creation of tools and weapons and systems for change. The Egyptians used technology to flood the Nile river delta, to grow food, and they made ships to trade across the sea. Romans built great aqua-ducts to transport water over great distances. Much more recently that has translated to highways in the United States. We use them to transport materials and food cross country. So is agriculture still relevant today if we are already a civilized people? The answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Never have there been more people that need to be fed. In order to take care of that need we must make the systems we have in place more efficient. We also need to make food production more local in order to lower the reliance on a global supply chain that is entirely dependent on fossil fuels. Making food a personal matter is to me the way that generations going forward will be able to feed themselves while keeping the planet in good shape. So please learn something about your food so that at a minimum you can make more responsible choices that may drive the future of agriculture. And if you are so inclined get involved with food on some level, if that means growing herbs on your windowsill or growing everything you eat, something is better than nothing.

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