Why Focus on Farming

Before I continue the story of my exploration of the Midwest, I thought I’d share a quote with you that I think sums up why I find farming to be not simply interesting to study but essential to understand. The quote is from Near A Thousand Tables: A History of Food by Filipe Fernández-Armesto. This book is a splendid choice, if you have any interest in food history and its impact on world history.  The book is thoughtful, wide-ranging, iconoclastic, brilliant, elegant, and packed with fascinating, abundantly documented information.

Here’s what Fernández-Armesto has to say about farming:

“Whether invented or evolved, the farming of plants did more, in the long run, to alter the world than any previous human innovation. The impact of the hunters, fishers, and stockbreeders of the last chapter could not compare—not on the landscape, or on ecological structures or even on diet. … Plants are 90 percent of the world’s food. Plant farming still dominates the world’s economy…. We still depend on it absolutely. It is the basis of everything else.”

For all our technology and cleverness, we’d disappear without farms.


Filed under Agriculture, Farming, History, Thoughts

2 responses to “Why Focus on Farming

  1. People often seem to forget that it is because of a surplus of food grown (more than the farmer himself consumes), that a town or city can be supported. It is literally the backbone of all industries, without it there can be no other.


    • So true. Just read an interesting book about the Roman Empire that noted that Rome’s conquests were all about capturing enough farms and farmers to feed the growing city of Rome. There are no cities without a hinterland supplying the food.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s