As we conclude the first semester of this school year and my last ever plant biology class it has occurred to me how important the origins of agriculture are to my existence. As a someone who’s ancestors lived off the land it is important for me to take a look at how agriculture has impacted my life today as well as my ancestors lives in the past. Living off the land has been a way of life for centuries and still is a way of life today.
It is also undoubtedly the most important thing we have talked about in this class.
The definition of agriculture according to Dr.Little’s lecture/power point is the science of raising crops or livestock. This science has been an important part of my family for generations as before my ancestors even came to this country, we have it on record that they were potato farmers in Ireland. They lived off the land by eating and selling what the land produced, this way of life started in ancient times and continues today.
Early farmers did not have the technology or ways to cook food that we do today, so they used there hands and hard work to not only farm the land but also take care of the animals they were preparing for sale or for food. Another major part of agriculture is called domestication. Domestication by definition according to lecture is the process by which plants (or animals) are adapted to life with humans and their environment, to the humans’ advantage.
This means farmers domesticated all kinda of plants from other countries to either there home countries or in my ancestors case even brought crops over to the Americas and domesticated them here. Now that we see the overall importance of agriculture and what it is lets take a look at its historical importance and importance in our lives today.
Agriculture as mentioned earlier has been around for centuries but according to lecture agriculture officially came about around 12,000 ypb. Before agriculture became a way of life earlier humans were hunters and gatherers, this means that the humans hunted for food and picked fruits, vegetables, and plants that were native to the land. This is crazy to think about because this means that even before agriculture was a thing the way of life was still living off of the land. The land lived on by early humans was native to many things that still could satisfy the basic needs of humans today. There were areas to get water and places where food grew, because of these things small animals lived there and small animals mean prey. Because there was prey and water, there were predators and finally because there were predators there were humans there to hunt, kill, and eat the predators (if they were lucky enough to catch them of course). As agriculture began to become more prevelant in society so did the domestication of new species of plants and animals. This holds a great deal of historical importance as well because certain new plants began being domesticated in Europe and in turn were domesticated in the Americas when people began colonizing over here. This is even more important because it means that the Native Americans who had already discovered new plants and ways to farm them showed colonist in some cases how to farm such plants. There is a historical negative though as Native Americans who didn’t cooperate with the settlers were killed for there land, food, and ways of farming. This ultimately ended up leading to the genocide of many Native Americans.
Now that I have talked about the historical importance of agriculture lets talk about its importance as it relates to my existence and my overall family history. As I mentioned earlier it is safe to say from diary entries and other resources that my early ancestors were farmers in Germany and Ireland who lived completely off the land. Although it is unclear what my family in Germany farmed it is obvious what my family in Ireland farmed. They farmed the glorious potatoes of Ireland. They would sell and eat what they farmed in Ireland to other locals and eventually move to America where they would begin to be some of the first people to domesticate, farm, and sell potatoes. They used farming as a way of life and it is ultimately what kept them alive. When hard times fell on the family and there wasn’t t much food to eat they ate what they farmed, because of this my family was able to get through tough times and ultimately have a legacy and eventually have grandkids and great grandkids and eventually me. I am very proud of my heritage and overall am very proud to have ancestors who lived off of the land.
So that is what is important to me, Agriculture. My family has been living off of the land for years and the fact of the matter is if it wasn’t t for there farming who knows if they would have survived. I know it is overall morbid to think about but the fact of the matter is that it is true. Farming wasn’t t just a way of life it was ultimately a way to live. This revelation has resulted in me not only paying close attention when talking about the origins of agriculture because you can make the case that the origins of agriculture are actually a key origin to my existence as a whole.