For most of human history, we spent our days hunting and gathering food, wherever we could find them. If a particular area was lacking in nutrient rich supplies, or if it was being made use of by another band whom we didn’t want to war with, then we would simply wander somewhere else and make hay wherever the nutritional sun shone.
About 10,000 years ago, our ancestors stumbled across the seemingly genius idea of domesticating animals and cultivating easy to grow foodstuffs so that we could experience plentiful supplies of essential foodstuffs without having to wander the savannah.
Climatic conditions at the time were ripe for this sort of development, and the Middle East began the trend by domesticating goats and cultivating wheat. Peas and lentils followed in the Levant, and later olives, horses and grapevines added a little variety to our newly sedentary lives. Meanwhile in Central America there were simultaneous movements towards the cultivation of maize, beans, potatoes and llamas and in the Far East, it was rice, millet and pigs.
The immediate effects of their work were greater overall supplies of food. However, the work was hard, and so these newly formed communities took advantage of the surplus food supplies by having more children who could share the load and work the farms. (more…)