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Author Solbrig, Otto Thomas.

Title So shall you reap : farming and crops in human affairs / Otto T. Solbrig & Dorothy J. Solbrig
Published Washington, D.C. : Island Press, [1994]
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xx, 284 pages) : illustrations
Contents Early food acquisition -- From hunter-gatherers to farmers -- Early agriculture -- Domesticating plants -- The rise of civilization -- Agriculture spreads to Europe -- The Medieval farm -- Sugarcane and industrial agriculture -- Exchanges -- A new kind of farm -- Contemporary farming -- The future of food
Summary Consider this: If mankind's history spanned just twenty-four hours since its beginnings, agriculture would have existed in only the last five minutes. Yet despite its recency, the development of farming has radically changed both human society and the world's environment. This rapid evolution - from small, egalitarian bands of hunters and gatherers to a globally interconnected society dependent on food produced by 20 percent of its population - has profoundly altered our lives. So Shall You Reap presents a fresh and informed perspective on how farming and the crops we grow have developed throughout history. Beginning with the prehistoric era, Otto and Dorothy Solbrig describe the intriguing connections between the evolution of farming techniques and major societal changes: cultivated cereals and the beginning of civilization; the search for spices and European exploration; extraction of sugar from sugarcane and sugar beets and the use of slave labor; industrialism and the new agriculture; and Malthusian prophecy and the advent of bioengineering. Taking this engaging historical approach, the authors also explain the ancient origins of agriculture; the drastic alterations in our diet; the migration and transformation of wild fruits, grains, and legumes; and the reasons for and the effects of irrigation, fertilization, and crop rotation. As they review agriculture's fundamental importance to history, the authors trace how farming has taken its toll on the physical world. To feed the more than 5 billion people on our planet, we have completely transformed natural landscapes in order to provide room for large-scale growth of only a few species of plants and even fewer species of domesticated animals. Agriculture has altered the earth's biosphere and changed its geosphere: Biodiversity has been imperiled; the soil has been modified; forests have been felled; swamps have been drained; rivers have been dammed and diverted. So Shall You Reap concludes with a description of current agricultural practices and future expectations. The Solbrigs make a strong case for the need to understand the origins and evolution of agriculture so that we might be better prepared to anticipate what the future may hold, and what we must do to increase food production while minimizing environmental problems
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 269-272) and index
Notes Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002. MiAaHDL
digitized 2010 HathiTrust Digital Library committed to preserve pda MiAaHDL
Print version record
Subject Agriculture -- Environmental aspects.
Agriculture -- History.
Nature -- Effect of human beings on.
Traditional farming -- History.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
Author Solbrig, Dorothy J., 1945-
ISBN 1610913264
(cloth ; acid-free paper)
(paperback; acid-free paper)
(cloth ; acid-free paper)
(paperback; acid-free paper)