(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

America has been on a health kick since the 70s. First it was no fat, and then fat was OK. Then it was low carbs, read package labeling, and let the diet craze begin. Atkins, grapefruit diet, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Mediterranean Diet, South Beach Diet, the list is endless.

Whole publishing companies do nothing but tell us how to consume fewer calories while everything on the shelves has 20 percent more in the package. I guess that makes sense on some level. Buy more; eat less.

Friday Fun Facts About Farming and Agriculture

  • Where would farming be without the plow? The earliest plow, called the "ard," was invented in the Middle East and speculation is it was probably made from sharpened tree branches.
  • Figs, not apples, were some of the first crops cultivated dating back to 6,000 and 3,000 B.C.
  • The First Agricultural Revolution began about 10,000 B.C. Early farmers developed the first “founder crops.” Emmer, wheat, einkorn wheat, hulled barley, peas, lentils, bitter vetch, chickpeas, and flax.
  • The Second Agricultural Revolution brought efficient farming technology between 1700 and 1900. Many countries around the world are still at this stage.
  • Biotechnology, genetic engineering, chemical fertilizers and mass production ushered in The Third Agricultural Revolution in the 20th century.
  • You can thank the Mesopotamians for the introduction of irrigation around 7000 B.C. Russians developed large scale irrigation about 4000 B.C.
  • Arabs made two major contributions to agriculture. The windmill pump in the year 644 and the development of farm soil fertilizer enrichment by the year 1000.
  • The number one fruit crop in the world is bananas and is fourth in the world after wheat, rice and corn.
  • China leads the world in apple production. More than 6,000 kinds of apples are grown around the world. The US, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Italy and India round out the other big apple producing countries.
  • Livestock farming employs about 1.3 billion people in the world or about one in every five people on earth.

Some Final Thoughts

The next time you’re wandering down the aisle of your favorite super market just imagine how many people in the world sweated, got up at the break of dawn, invested thousands of dollars and the man hours it took just to being that can of corn or that banana to your store shelf.

If you enjoy eating three times a day — thank a farmer.

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