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Key Issue 1:

Where did agriculture originate?

ORIGINS OF AGRICULTURE
- improvements in cultivating plants and domesticating animals evolved over thousands of
years
- agriculture: is the modification of earth’s surface by growing plants and animals to
survive or get $$$
- crop: any plant cultivated by people

HUNTERS AND GATHERERS


- before ag, humans probably got their food through hunting for animals, fishing, or
gathering plants
- lived in small groups
- # of time needed to gather food depended on local conditions
- men hunted, women gathered
- group traveled quickly
- today, perhaps only 0.005 percent of the world’s pop survive by hunting and gathering-
live in isolated locations like Arctic, Africa, Australia, and South America (Aborgines in
Australia are one ex)
- live in the periphery

INVENTION OF AGRICULTURE
- invention was a result of accident and trial and error
- people cut plants and dropped berries, fruits, and seeds, observed that over time, these
discarded seeds made plants
- did this over and over again, subsequent generations learned to pour water over site, and
introduce manure and other improvements
- 2 types of cultivation
o vegetative planting: production of plants from direct cloning like cutting a stem
and planting it somewhere else
o seed agriculture: pollen and egg meetzygotenew plant!

LOCATION OF AGRICULTURAL HEARTHS


- Ag began in many, independent hearths, and diffused over earth’s surface

LOCATION OF FIRST VEGETATIVE PLANTING:


- vegetative planting started in SE Asia
- region’s diversity and topography encouraged the growth of many different plants
- first plants probably included taro and yam
- diffused to China, Japan, India, SW Asia, tropical Africa, and Mediterranean lands
- other hearths could include West Africa, NW South America
- first plants probably included oil palm tree, and yam in W Africa, and manioc,
sweet potato, and arrowroot
- diffused to Central America and E South America

LOCATION OF FIRST SEED AGRICULTURE


- originated in W India, N China, Ethopia
- diffused from W India  SW Asia (where domestication of wheat and barley occurred)
- SW Asia were also the first to integrate seed ag and domestication of herd animals
- Diffusion of seed ag: diffused from SW Asia, across Europe, and through N Africa
- Greece, Crete, and Cyprus show this early evidence- from these countries, ag diffused
NW and NE
- SW NW India, and Indus River plain
- From N China, millet diffused to SA and SE Asia
- Rice has unknown hearth
- Ethiopia: millet and sorghum were domesticated early
- 2 independent hearths in W Hemisphere: S Mexico and N Peru
- southern mexico hearth made squash and maize, and N Peru domesticated squash, beans,
and cotton
- ag practices diffused to rest of Western Hemisphere

CLASSIFYING AGRICULTURAL REGIONS


- fundamental difference in ag practices in LDCs and MDCs
- LDC: subsistence farming is more common, MDC: commercial ag is common

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SUBSISTENCE AND COMMERCIAL AG


- subsistence ag: found in LDCs, production of food primarily for consumption by family
- commercial ag: found in MDCs, production of food primarily for sale off the farm
- 5 principles distinguish the two types of ag:
o purpose of farming
LDCS: production of food for their own consumption, some surplus (if
there even is one) is sold to the gov or private firms- subsistence ag
Farmers grow crops and raise crops for sale off the farm; ag products are
sold to food making companies like Kraft, large processors sign contracts
with commercial farmers to buy their chicken and grain, and other
products
o percentage of farmers in labor force
in MDC: less than 5% of workers are engaged in directly in farming, and
still manage to make a surplus of goods
in LDC: 55 % of people are farmers
o use of machinery
in MDCs, farmers rely on machinery to perform work, instead of relying
on people or animals
in LDCs, farmers do much work with hand tools (rakes) and animal
powers (oxen)
earlier, equipment was made from wood, but after 18th century, factories
made farm machinery such as tractors, combines, corn pickers, and
planters
replace or supplement manual labor
transportation improvements aid commercial farmer
• railroads, highways, trucks= faster transport of crops and
livestock
• commercial farmers use scientific advances to increase
productivity
o farm size
MDCs: large farms in commercial ag, family owned and operated, rent
nearby fields
• Large size is a consequence of mechanization- combines,
pickers, and other machines do good work at large scale
• Prime ag land: most productive agricultural land
o relationship of farming to other businesses
commercial ag is tied closely to other businesses
farms in MDC that are commercial are called agribusiness because that
farm is integrated into a large food production industry

MAPPING AGRICULTURAL REGIONS:


- 11 MAIN agricultural regions: 5in LDC, and 6 in MDC
- sorted by climate withing LDC and MDC