Agriculture

A view of the Shanidar Cave in Iraq’s Zagros Mountains, where some of the charred plant remains were discovered

Neanderthals Cooked Surprisingly Complex Meals

Charred food remnants provide insight into 70,000-year-old dietary practices

Rice is a major staple crop around the world.

Perennial Rice Could Raise Yields and Cut Costs

These plants that grow back year after year show promise, but they are not a silver bullet

The 6,000-year-old watermelon seeds from Uan Muhuggiag (left) border a child eating a modern watermelon.

Why Prehistoric Herders Didn't Spit Out Their Watermelon Seeds

Thousands of years ago, Saharans ate the kernels before the fruit became sweet

Frozen chemicals across the country could thaw and make their way into groundwater and surface water during winters, research suggests.

Once-Frozen Chemicals Could Pollute Water as Winters Warm

Thawing agricultural nutrients threaten streams, lakes and rivers across the country, new research suggests

Ads like this one for Tesco turkey in London may no longer be allowed in the Dutch city of Haarlem starting in 2024.

A Dutch City Is Banning Some Meat Advertisements in Public Spaces

The climate change-motivated move is accompanied by bans on fossil fuel ads elsewhere in the Netherlands

Breadfruit grows on trees.

Is Breadfruit the Climate Change-Proof Food of the Future?

New research suggests it will fare better than our current staple crops under warming conditions

North Dakota’s sunflower superbloom is underway.

See the Incredible Sunflower Superbloom in North Dakota

Fields filled with the cheery yellow flowers reach peak bloom in late summer

Australia is home to roughly 200 million rabbits, which are not native to the country and damage crops and ecosystems. 

How Two Dozen Rabbits Started an Ecological Invasion in Australia

The country’s “most serious pests” can be traced to one shipment from England in 1859, study shows

Cotton fields

It's Time for the Fashion Industry to Launch a Farm-to-Closet Movement

For fiber and textile producers, the path to growing sustainable cotton, hemp and flax is complicated

An adult spotted lanternfly

People are ‘Hunting’ Invasive Spotted Lanternflies—And You Should, Too

Officials urge the public to squish the bugs, which are damaging crops and trees in the eastern U.S.

A giant African land snail

Giant Snails Take Over Florida's Gulf Coast Again

The state has found more than 1,400 of the massive snails since June

A family-owned coffee farm in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, Hacienda Tres Ángeles teaches visitors about the coffee making process from “crop-to-cup.”

How Puerto Rico Became One of the Caribbean's Top Agritourism Destinations

Across the island, certified sites invite both travelers and local residents to experience farming practices and traditions firsthand

A new book, coedited by Smithsonian entomologist Ted Schultz, explores and the fascinating ways in which human and nonhuman farmers compare, and asks what we might learn from other agricultural species.

Could Ants, Termites and Fishes Make Humans Better Farmers?

Scientists are now revealing the agricultural expertise that other species have cultivated for tens of millions of years

An electrical works project led archaeologists to uncover this Aztec-era dwelling. 

Cool Finds

Construction Workers Uncover Massive 800-Year-Old Aztec Dwelling in Mexico City

The accidental discovery has a long, layered history

New research shows that mass migration of ancient peoples from the south were essential to bringing maize cultivation to Maya communities in Central America. Scientists previously thought knowledge of farming techniques were shared by word of mouth between neighboring communities. 

New Research

New Study Finds Migrants Brought Maize to the Maya

DNA analysis of skeletal remains in Belize helps piece together how corn cultivation came to thrive in Central America

Flea-ridden rats in crowded medieval cities were the primary cause of Black Death infections in the 14th century, which historians believe killed off nearly half the European populaton. A new study argues, however, that the death toll may have in fact been way lower. 

New Research

The Black Death Wasn't as Deadly as Previously Thought, Research Suggests

Ancient pollen deposits reveal that some areas of Europe may have experienced a 'much lighter touch' of the disease, according to the study

David and Priscilla Burke's daughter Aoibheann with a wild fig tree her parents discovered.

In California, the Search for the Ultimate Wild Fig Heats Up

A booming market has specimen hunters tracking down rare new varieties of the ancient fruit

Seasonal influxes of fishermen fed roaring local economies and attracted herring girls—women who came from across Iceland to take jobs gutting, cleaning and salting barrels of freshly caught fish.

How Iceland's Herring Girls Helped Bring Equality to the Island Nation

Between the 1910s and 1960s, thousands of young women formed the backbone of the country's thriving fishing industry

Seventy percent of all crop species depend on insects for pollination, but a new study shows a decrease in pollinators in areas exposed to air pollution. 

 

Air Pollution Makes It Harder for Insect Pollinators to Find Flowers

Some bug populations were reduced up to 70 percent in areas exposed to diesel exhaust and ozone contamination

Harry Hall, Campbell's chief agricultural expert, inspects tomatoes in his office at Campbell's research farm in Cinnaminson, New Jersey sometime in the 1920s.

How Campbell Soup Turned New Jersey Into a Tomato-Growing State

The canned food company's tomato breeding program was responsible for developing several important varieties

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