Farming and food throughout history and across cultures
"The developments of rye, barley, millet, rice, maize and wheat are therefore among the most spectacular achievements of humankind: turning grasses – which nature seemed to have designed as the food of other, better-equipped species – into the staple fodder of non-ruminants like ourselves. Other important plants in the repertoire include buckwheat, oats and sorghum; but the big six are special because whole civilizations have relied for sustenance on each of them."
Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Food: A history
The cultivation, harvesting and processing of plants is at the core of human history. Some of the earliest surviving objects crafted by humans relate to pre-historic food and farming – containers or maize and rice gods. The search for the spice islands enticed European adventurers into the unknown, gave rise to the Atlantic slave trade and colonisation and brought tomatoes to Italy, potatoes to Ireland and chili to India. Your school garden can be a starting point for exploring this fascinating relationship between plants and people.
Explore resources on Food cultures