Agriculture for a Type I civilization.

Agriculture Mar 26, 2021

Approx. 12,000 years before, man cultivated the land in the Cradle of Civilization - Iraq, the Levant, parts of Turkey, and Iran, an area that was home to some of the earliest known human civilizations. Archaeological evidence shows that people were farming rice and millet as early as 12,700 years ago in the Middle East and Mesopotamia. Research shows that people living in this region began experimenting with different crops, and how they prepared the grains, about 8,000 years ago.

Artwork: Beth Zaiken 

By 10,600 years ago, the Arab world's agricultural knowledge and productivity surpassed that of the ancient Egyptians. But despite early achievements, this led to a gradual loss of tradition and lifestyle. Their farming methods and technology began to decline after 6,000 years, ago when agricultural techniques were imported into Europe and China. Meanwhile, the Greeks planted and cultivated wheat, barley, lentils, and beans. These produced an abundance of both edible and sweet cereals. The Romans arrived in the Mediterranean around 50 AD and they had stone-built mills. They improved cereal production by improving their mills and producing bleached flour. They were the first people to use efficient hoofed plows to work their extensive agricultural estates. But despite this, they did not practice intensive plowing. This allowed them to remove stubble and maintain the best level of soil fertility for production.

After the Romans, farming practices grew more mechanized as technology improved, but agriculture remained largely a family business. As farm sizes decreased and fewer farmers operated land, fewer funds were generated for the landowner and therefore far less money was collected for land maintenance. As a result, many farmers were forced to sell their land, and entire estates were bought by wealthy landowners. This created a trend of subdivision and consolidation as wealthy landowners consolidated their lands into estates, which decreased the opportunities for young people to work on large farms.

Modern agriculture and how it is coming to an end.

From the late eighteenth century, there were a series of industrial revolutions which drove the demand for food but also created problems. These were worsened by population increases during the twentieth century. Initially, great efforts were made to feed the entire population, but the extremes of overpopulation and famine became apparent, and the concept of food production for economic development emerged. The widespread practice of cultivation of waste and neglect of fertilizer and pest controls led to a major crop failure during the late 1980s. Although the seeds of the current plague have been present in much of Europe for years, it was the last couple of decades when a greater portion of humanity began to adopt an essentially agrarian lifestyle. With a fresh crop of seeds upon harvest and the use of agricultural equipment, the disease developed readily. There was still a concern, though, about the dangers of climate change and the rapid expansion of the human population.

This entire agricultural system could go into extinction along with humanity if rapid technological advancements in agriculture don't happen soon. Vertical farming is already very mature in many countries but is still very new on a global scale. As urban living and a sedentary lifestyle take over people's lives, the population will go up and demand more food to sustain their lifestyle. As technology advances in farming, feeding people from a single flat garden could become more and more important. In the future, in addition to the vertical garden, people will also have raised beds in their garden to harvest everything that grows.

Eventually, people will start to use their yards as vertical farms to produce vegetables in all stages of growth. The vertical garden could be used for growing flowers, herbs, or other plants or crops and then the excess could be harvested and eaten. This will be so much more productive than using the traditional horizontal gardening methods where everything is cut down from the plant after a certain time. People can grow a lot more food when they have more space and can have a proper vertical garden. It will take some time to see the use of vertical gardening as the new norm but eventually, the rapid changes in the agriculture industry will continue to push the world in a new direction of sustainable growth.

The Future we see coming.

The usage of robots will increase tremendously over the coming years. Robots will make many more tasks much easier and help save people a lot of time and effort. They can make gardening a much easier process. The advancement of various vertical farming techniques will elevate modern farming and make it more efficient, profitable, and sustainable. The advances in food production, especially using various technologies, can help agricultural workers to overcome issues such as soil pollution, uneven soil, the exhaustion of natural resources, and the deterioration of crops due to poor soil quality.

Above all, we must utilize all the potential of robots and farming to make the agriculture sector a promising one that will help us improve the welfare of people. The cultivation of a better future, towards which we are aiming, should not be limited to this planet; it has to reach a multi-planetary scale.

Marion Celestin

Post Harvest Physiologist at Balnc

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