Civilization Depends on Agriculture

There can be no urban living without reliable and affordable food

Todd C. Wehner

Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

Citizens of the 21st century living in the United States have become strangely disconnected from their food sources. Our ancestors spent most of their time growing crops, preserving food, and preparing meals to stay alive and to remain healthy. Even today, those who have no reliable food supply spend most of their time searching for food, or resting to preserve their energy. Now, most of us spend our time working at jobs that are far removed from crop production, food preservation, and even meal preparation. Many of us do not know what crops even look like. Agricultural concerns of urban dwellers are now focussed more on whether the food is safe to eat, how to landscape their yard, what combination of foods produces the best health, or whether to put food scraps into a compost pile.

Unfortunately, the food production system built in the late 1800s is now being dismantled as our elected officials reduce support for agricultural research, teaching, and extension. Get to know modern agriculture; provide support for those working in agriculture. The alternative is workers who are not working, but instead are waiting in long lines for a chance to buy some bread for their family.