Iceland was extensively forested before the first humans settled there. But within 500 years of their arrival 95% of woodlands had been cut down, leading to soil erosion, crop failure and the eventual abandonment of many farms. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice…
Today I learned of Pomato, a grafted plant that is part tomato and part potato. The resulting plant have cherry tomatoes on the vine and white potatoes in the soil, resulting in plants with double crops. Grafting can also boost natural resilience and improve biodiversity by supporting different pollinators! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pom…
Farmers in Africa use beehives to protect their crops from the largest and arguably most destructive crop pest in Africa: the elephant. Bees can’t sting through their thick hides but they can sting sensitive areas like the eyes, mouth, and inner trunk - they hear the hive buzzing and flee. thisiscolossal.com/2015/1…
The US government created a raisin cartel that was run by raisin companies, which increased prices by limiting the supply, and forced farmers to hand over their crops without paying them. The cartel lasted 66 years until the Supreme Court broke it up in 2015. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nat…
CRISPR technology has been applied in the food and farming industries to engineer probiotic cultures and to immunize industrial cultures (for yogurt, for instance) versus infections. It is also being used in crops to enhance yield, drought tolerance and nutritional homes en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CRI…
Teff, the staple food crop of Ethiopia, is a highly nutritious "superfood" like quinoa. After US and European health food trends created a huge demand for quinoa, prices skyrocketed in Bolivia, where it is a staple food. Fearing their own food shortage, Ethiopia banned the export of teff in 2006 edition.cnn.com/2015/12/1…
Today I learned about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a secure seed bank in Norway designed to store duplicates (backups) of seed samples from the world's crop collections in case of natural or human-made disaster en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sva…
Hay is a crop from grass, straw is a byproduct of grain production (the stems). Hay has more nutritional value for animal feed detroitnews.com/story/lif…
The amount of arable land (land that crops can grow on) per person on the planet is .19 hectacres, less then half a football field (excluding endzone). data.worldbank.org/indica…
Today I learned about The Carrington Event, the most powerful solar flare recorded. If this were to happen today, the impact on power grids, telecommunications, internet, crops, satellite communications and GPS systems would be $1 trillion to $2 trillion. history.com/news/a-perfec…
Female wasps will attack almost any other insect to implant their eggs, which hatch into parasitic larva that eventually kill their host. This actually makes them useful as a 'green' method of pest control, being intentionally introduced to decimate the populations of crop-killing pests. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Was…
Today I learned about gleaning, collecting leftover crops from farmers fields after they have been commercially harvested or not profitable to harvest. It is described in the Hebrew Bible that became a legally enforced entitlement of the poor in a number of Christian kingdoms en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gle…
Today I learned about a Baader–Meinhof effect, also called Frequency illusion. It's a illusion in which the thing you've just noticed, experienced or been told about suddenly crops up everywhere. healthline.com/health/baa…
Today I learned about UG99, a highly contagious wheat stem rust that can confer a 100% devastation rate to affected crops. It's essentially the Ebola of wheat and efforts are being made to stop it before we reach Wheatmaggedon en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ug9…
Ug99 is a plant fungus that may threat worldwide wheat production in the future. It has the potential to cause a massive global famine since it causes up to 100% crop losses. So far, it has been detected in 22 countries in Asia and Africa. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ug9…
Besides humans, Formosan rock macaques are the only native primates living in Taiwan. Formosan rock macaques are hunted for their meat and for the damage they allegedly do to crops en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For…
Experiments found that the colors of light reflected on crops while growing can affect their products: tomatoes grown over red mulch had 20% higher yield, carrots grown over yellow mulch had higher concentrations of beta carotene, "far-red" light increased the lengths of cotton fibers, and more. agresearchmag.ars.usda.go…
The Kuwae volcanic eruption affected the entire world. During the final siege of Constantinople the city's gardens failed and it was racked by a thunderstorm. There were crop failures in Sweden, the Chinese recorded countless died of cold and famine, and Mexican codices record frosts in fall. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuw…
The scientific name of rice is Oryza sativa, and it is not related to Cannabis sativa. Sativa, sativus, and sativum are Latin botanical adjectives meaning cultivated often associated botanically with plants that promote good health and used to designate certain seed-grown domestic crops. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ory…
Fireworks are totally illegal in Florida, but are sold to ordinary people in huge quantities via hundreds of stores across the state to anyone who signs a waiver saying they're for agricultural use to scare birds away from crops. tampabay.com/features/con…
Today I learned of "Dogwood Winters" in which late April - early May cold snaps are common. Farmers would predict these by whether or not the Dogwood trees had bloomed, and use this to determine when it would be safe to plant their crops. farmersalmanac.com/what-i…
In 1898 the US Department of Landscaping set up a committee to search the world for crops that could be grown back home in the US. It was this committee that brought avocados, mangoes, and new varieties of oranges. While at it they introduced America to Dates from Iraq because of Aladdin. npr.org/sections/thesalt/…
Mosquito hawks do not actually eat mosquitos. Instead, the larvae mostly feed on roots of forage crops, turf grasses, and seedling field crops, while adults, if they feed at all, feed primarily on liquids such as nectar. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cra…
In 2009, Tasmanian opium farmers discovered circles and patterns in their crops. It turns out it was wallabies getting high and bouncing around in circles. theguardian.com/world/200…
Pigeons, flamingos, and male emperor penguins produce crop milk to feed their young. worldatlas.com/articles/w…
Loofah Sponges are the interior of a gourd native to South East Asia. The young fruit is often grown as a food crop, and when the gourds mature, they get a hard fibrous interior which are often sold as cleaning sponges. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luf…
Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around "as high as a kite" news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-…
In the UK it is illegal under the Plant Variety and Seeds Act 1964 (with many amendments) for an individual or organisation to give, trade or sell seed of an older variety of wheat (or any other agricultural crop) to a third party for growing purposes, subject to a significant fine. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tha…
The now extinct Rocky Mountain locust last swarmed and destroyed crops in the US A in the 1870s en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roc…
During the initial phase of the battle of Gettysburg, the two armies fought inside the town. During one of the skirmishes, a man called Joseph Broadhead leaved his house in the middle of fire in order to collect beans telling his wife that "The Rebels were not going to take his crop!" emergingcivilwar.com/2018…
Parrots that eat poppy flowers get instant energy similar to the effect of tea or coffee for a human. Wild parrots feeding on poppies are destroying poppy crops in Madhya Pradesh, India. Opium specialist Dr. RS Chundawat said that once the birds feel the energy, they quickly become addicted. bbc.com/news/world-asia-i…
The Confederate states tried to win British recognition by leveraging the importance of their cotton crop to Britain, but this failed as Albanian-ruled Egypt, inspired by Napoleon, had cultivated enough cotton to fill the gap. This cotton wealth kept them in power even during British invasions en.wikipedia.org/wiki/His…
Since 1922, the British Royal Horticultural Society has given out an annual Award of Garden Merit to the plant or crop which performs best under UK growing conditions. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awa…
In 1508 a French town tried to convict the local rats of destroying their crops, a lawyer successfully defended them by first arguing that court summons must be given to each individual rat and then arguing that it was too dangerous for them to come to the trial due to the cats in the town duhaime.org/LawMuseum/Law…
Today I learned about the Great Famine of 1315-1317, caused by extended poor crop weather. It was marked by extreme levels of crime, disease, mass death, and even cannibalism and infanticide. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gre…
97% of Britain’s wildflower meadows have disappeared since the end of WW2. These meadows supported pollinating insects for food crops, helped mitigate flooding by holding on to rain water, and captured vast amounts of carbon. bbc.co.uk/earth/story/201…
Today I learned of Distichlis palmeri, a grain plant with a high salt tolerance. Until recently it was thought to be extinct. But a breeding program of the remaining plants has bred varieties with yields of 2 tons per hectare, and is a strong candidate to become a major global food crop. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dis…
Chinese vice president Chen Cheng's β€œ375 rent reduction” initiative was credited with stopping the spread of communism in Taiwan. The policy capped the rent farmers paid to landlords at 37.5% of the harvest. Prior to the directive, landlords often sought more than half of the crop as payment en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Che…
Rice farmers often put fish into their water-laden fields in a process called β€œrice-fish culture.” The fish act as pest control, improve oxygen circulation, and can even fertilize the soil with their droppings. This can increase the crop yield by 10% or more. idrc.ca/sites/default/fil…
Instead of scarecrows, some Japanese farmers protect their crops with robotic "Super Monster Wolves" bbc.com/news/blogs-news-f…
Fruitcakes last a long time intentionally. They were originally baked at the end of harvest and some of the cake was saved to be eaten at the beginning to the harvest the following year as people thought that would bring a good crop. news.ncsu.edu/2014/12/wms…
Potatoes can reproduce sexually but farmers avoid it to ensure crop uniformity ndsu.edu/pubweb/chiwonlee…
70 percent of the world’s Macadamia Nuts came from one tree in Australia. All of Hawaii’s macadamias share distinctive markers with a tiny wild grouping of trees in Gympie, suggesting that all of the state’s modern crops were likely cloned out of a single Australian tree. atlasobscura.com/articles…
Although they live in a climate inhospitable to crop development, the Inuit do not suffer from vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) due to their diet of frozen and raw fish and mammal organs. By not cooking the food, the vitamin C is not broken down and can be absorbed by the human body. wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuit_…
Today I learned about Rudolph Diesel: when he invented the Diesel engine, he envisioned local communities growing crops to run their engines and making themselves entirely self-sufficient. Today, virtually all diesel engines run on petroleum from the ground by multinational oil companies in a globalized market. explainthatstuff.com/biof…
The US EPA banned use of lead arsenate on food crops in 1988. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lea…
Norman Borlaug is an agronomist responsible for saving over a billion lives from starvation due to his work in creating drought and disease resistant crops. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nor…
Certain birds can produce a milk type substance called crop milk. The birds that produce include pigeons, flamingos, and emperor penguin. thespruce.com/glossary-de…
In 1508, Autun, France pressed charges on rats for destroying barley crops. The lawyer representing the rats argued that the court's summons wasn't specific enough to his clients, and that Autun's cat population made it unsafe for his clients to come to court. The rats were acquitted. duhaime.org/LawMuseum/Law…
RoundUp isn't just used to fight weeds in food crops; instead, entire crops are killed with it so as to dry them and make harvest easier. ecowatch.com/roundup-canc…
Australian opium farmers found mysterious crop circles in their fields. The culprits were wallabies who got high and bounced around in circles news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-…
In Interstellar, they actually planted hundreds of acres of corn just for the sake of the movie and it ultimately costed nothing because they made all of the money back when they sold the crop youtu.be/ElI8-3f03L4?t=23…
Hidden hunger", deficiencies in micronutrients, has been a problem for decades in many developing countries because staple food crops were bred for high yield and pest resistance rather than nutritional quality. Experimental golden tubers have far more vitamin A and vitamin E than white potatoes phys.org/news/2017-11-gol…
Today I learned about popsicles that don’t melt. After the 2011 tsunami, scientists helping strawberry farmers in Japan salvage damaged crops accidentally discovered that liquid polyphenol extracted from the berries caused cream to solidify. This lead to Kanazawa Ice pops, which can stay frozen up to an hour. asahi.com/sp/ajw/articles…
"Nearly all of the world's popcorn production is in the" United States of America, "with 25 states growing the crop. Over one fourth of the national production is in Nebraska, and Indiana produces only slightly less. Other major popcorn-producing states are Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri." specialcollections.nal.us…
Lawn grass is the largest irrigated crop in the USA geog.ucsb.edu/the-lawn-is…
When Europeans attempted to eat corn as a staple, they began to suffer from a deficiency known as pellagra, something indigenous people did not suffer from. It turns out that to get free vitamins in the crop, you need to soak it in alkali water first, a practice European hadn't learned yet. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mai…
The word "Boycott" comes from Charles Boycott, a land owner who offered a 10% rent reduction to tenants instead of 25% after a bad crop harvest resulting in evictions. Tenants who replaced the evictees were shunned locally. This led to Boycott unable to find someone to harvest his crops. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy…
Georgia's top fruit crop is not peaches, it's blueberries. It produces over three times as much value in blueberries than peaches and is now first in the nation for blueberry production, while being third for peach production. nbcnews.com/business/busi…
The Zulus traditionally stored their food by fermenting in the form of thick sour milk and sorghum beer. Only children drank fresh milk. Beer was a seasonal delight, the postharvest reward for a good season’s crops ohioswallow.com/extras/97…
Due to declining bee populations in Sichuan China from excessive pesticide use, farmers now have to pollinate their crops by hand using chicken feathers. huffingtonpost.com/entry/…
Australian opium farmers found mysterious crop circles in their fields. The culprits were wallabies who got high and bounced around in circles news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-…
Today I learned of Fly Geyser, a geothermal geyser in Nevada that was created when a farmer attempted to drill a well for irrigating his crops. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly…
Lawns take up nearly 2 percent of the surface of the continental United States, making turf grassβ€”not cornβ€”America’s largest irrigated crop. geog.ucsb.edu/the-lawn-is…
Wild pigs are becoming an ecological disaster in Canada by causing crop damage, disease transmission, even automobile crashes cbc.ca/news/canada/britis…
Soviet scientists defended the world's largest seed bank during the 28 month Siege of Leningrad when it couldn't be evacuated. 9 scientists starved, surrounded by tons of crops and fruit, refusing to destroy 'the future of Russia'. atlasobscura.com/articles…
Today I learned of the Bombing of Naco, a 1929 incident in which an Irish crop duster hired by Mexican rebels to bombard government positions near the border accidentally dropped several bombs in the town of Naco Arizona. The incident was the first arial bombing of the United States by a foreign power. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bom…
During WWII Soviet scientists defended the world's largest seed vault through a 900-day siege. Many of the scientists starved amid the crops and fruit, refusing to jeopardize 'the future of Russia' to save themselves. atlasobscura.com/articles…
In 2009, mysterious crop circles were found in Tasmanian poppy fields. They were caused by stoned wallabies hopping in circles. reuters.com/article/us-wa…
Today I learned of "The Year Without a Summer" - a worldwide phenomenon in 1816 that caused crop failures and famines in multiple continents. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/yea…
Today I learned of Magnaporthe Grisea, otherwise known as Rice Blast, a form of blight that effects rice and destroys enough crops to feed 60+ million people, every year. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mag…
The Northern Spy apple - commonly used in pies and desserts - was discovered after a few seedlings remained in an otherwise failed crop of apple trees imported from Connecticut. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nor…
SMAP The Soil Moisture Active Passive Satellite measures soil moisture levels on earth and can predict droughts, monitor floods and predict crop yields for a given year. It can measure all the soil on earth every 2-3 days. nasa.gov/smap
In the late 1950s, China's government began a campaign to kill millions of sparrows because they ate crops. As a result, there was a huge increase in crop-eating insects, which led to a severe famine. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fou…
The rose family is one of the six most economically important crop plant families. It includes apples, pears, quinces, medlars, loquats, almonds, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and roses among the crop plants belonging to the family. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ros…
Jackrabbits became such a threat to crops during The Dust Bowl that entire towns would go on "Jack Rabbit Drives" where they would use clubs to kill thousands of jackrabbits at a time. They didn't use guns in order to conserve ammunition and avoid shooting one another. io9.gizmodo.com/terraform…
The Troggs' Reg Presley spent a large amount of his songwriting royalties researching alien spacecraft and crop circles. independent.co.uk/life-st…
Mouse plagues are a thing. During a mouse plague, mice come out in the tens of thousands, damaging rural infrastructure and crops. Strangely, Australia and China are the only two countries where mouse plagues happen – and no one really knows why. nationalgeographic.com.au…
In order to popularize potatoes in France, Antoine-Augustin Parmentier placed armed guards around his potato fields, instructing the guards to accept all bribes and allow people to "steal" the crop. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant…
Today I learned of the biblical practice of shmita - every seven years, farmland would be left fallow. Any crops that grew were free for the taking by all, and all debts were negated. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/shm…
Japanese farmers created a super monster wolf robot scarecrow to stop animals damaging their crops grapee.jp/en/96129
Quinoa is so nutritionally dense and complete that it is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned space expeditions. hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/p…
Gros Michel bananas were common in grocery stores until the 1950's when Panama disease wiped out much of the crops. They were replaced by the modern banana of the Cavendish variety. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gro…
Bananas are one of the oldest cultivated crops, circa when rice and potatoes were 1st domesticated (1:05). Also, the kind we eat today are not the same type our grandparents ate. Pre-1960, bananas known as Big Mike’s were bigger, tasted better, and had thicker skins meaning less bruising (8:43). youtu.be/h8vTt9Y1mkQ
George Washington Carver's research into uses for peanuts was motivated by a desire to help poor sharecroppers in the South. At the time, the overproduction of cotton was depleting the soil of nutrients, and the boll weevil infestation threatened to destroy cotton crops. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geo…
Onions are the only crop to be completely banned from trading futures in. In the 1950's a man named Vincent Kosuga acquired so much power that at one point he controlled 98% of onions in America. Farmers and buyers were so angry that Eisenhower banned the entire market. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oni…
During Mao's China in 1958, thousands of sparrows were killed to try and alleviate a 'pest' problem they posed. In 1960 a huge amount of locusts appeared in China and ate all the crops due to the fact that their natural predator had been destroyed. 20 million Chinese people died after en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fou…
1816 was called "The Year Without a Summer" after the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia. Crop failure forced Joseph Smith to leave Vermont, and his journeys resulted in "The Book of Mormon," the dreary rain in Switzerland drove Mary Shelley to stay indoors, where she wrote "Frankenstein." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yea…
Honeycrisp apples, while highly popular and tasty, are very difficult to grow. They are heat intolerant, need to be sprayed with calcium to prevent bitter pit disease, and are hard to store long term. Growers that plant Honeycrisp trees are choosing a high-maintenance, high-risk crop. growingproduce.com/fruits…
45 Million people were accidentally starved to death in China due to a pest control program that backfired in 1958. The program eliminated sparrows, which caused bug populations to explode and destroy crops. mnn.com/earth-matters/ani…
China sends seeds into space, then uses the resulting mutated seeds to produce abnormally large crops. spacesafetymagazine.com/s…
Today I learned about Eva Ekblad, a Swedish countess and scientist that discovered a way to make alcohol and wheat from potatoes, freeing up other valuable crops and significantly reducing Swedish famines. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva…
The invasive species of mongoose that is decimating wildlife in Hawaii were originally introduced intentionally in 1883 to combat the rat population that was ravaging crops. However rats are nocturnal, and mongooses are diurnal. The two species never came into contact. green.blogs.nytimes.com/2…
Ireland exported enormous quantities of food during the height of the 1840's Great Famine, "more than enough grain crops to feed the population." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gre…
There is a mythical creature from Scottish mythology called a nuckelavee. It is a sea demon that resembles a man's torso fused to a horse's back, and it has the ability to destroy crops and spread disease with its breath. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuc…
I learned that Bt crops made to be pest resistant are called that because they use genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flas…
A young Xhosa girl had a vision instructing the tribe to kill all the cattle and destroy the crops, as a sacrifice to the ancestors who would rise up and drive the white settlers into the sea. Thus began the 'Great Cattle Killing' after which over 40,000 Xhosa died in the resulting famine. archive.randi.org/site/in…
Honeybees didn't exist in California until 1853, and even though bees in general are critical to the environment, honeybees specifically are far more important for agriculture of a few specific crops. blog.education.nationalge…
Wild pigs are one of the most destructive animals in America causing more than $400mil damage a year in TX alone. They can dig 3' deep destoying crops and even feast on lambs, calves, sea turtle eggs, and everything in between. smithsonianmag.com/scienc…
Sometime around 1500 A.D., an African farmer planted a maize seed imported from the New World. Today, maize accounts for more than half the calories people consume in many African countries. Maize supplanted Africa’s own historical grain cropsβ€”sorghum, millet, and rice hup.harvard.edu/catalog.p…

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