Agriculture

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

Archaeologists discovered a ceramic colander near grain silos at a dig in Israel, suggesting evidence of beer consumption in social gatherings about 7,000 years ago. 

Beer Flowed Freely at Gatherings in the Jordan Valley 7,000 Years Ago

Researchers find evidence that prehistoric communities consumed the alcoholic beverage during social events

Orange and lemon groves as well as the residence of the citrus pioneer William Wolfskill, c. 1882. 

The Bug That Saved California

The Golden State’s citrus industry faced a lethal threat. The solution would herald a new kind of pest control

"As soon as this idea of aerial application for farming began to take shape, nearly everyone agreed this was the way to go,” says Dorothy Cochrane, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, where one of only two known to exist, is on view.

The Little 'Puffer' That Could, and Did, Change an Industry

The Huff-Daland Duster ushered in the era of agriculture aviation

The naturally mummified remains were remarkably well preserved, with some still sporting clothing and hair.

Cool Finds

New Research Reveals Surprising Origins of Millennia-Old Mummies Found in China

Once thought to be migrants from West Asia, the deceased were actually direct descendants of a local Ice Age population, DNA analysis suggests

Coffee leaves cultured in laboratory conditions produced a brewed batch that smelled and tasted like the real deal.

Lab-Grown Coffee Passes Taste Test

Finnish researchers brew batch using a bioreactor for a more sustainable, climate-conserving java crop

During the 2017 Grocery Walk, more than 500 protestors demanded greater investment in food access programs and healthy food retail options in a local Washington D.C. community.

In a City Flush With Power and Wealth, D.C.'s Ward 8 Faces Food Inequity

Eleven percent of U.S. households experience hunger; an expansive, new exhibition focuses how a local community manages this national problem

Enticed by a sweet treat, a cow learns to use the "MooLoo," a latrine for cattle, where excrement can be collected. The only question is: can this technique work on a larger scale?

Researchers Potty Trained Young Cows, a Promising Measure to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

One cow pees up to eight gallons a day; training them is easy, and capturing and treating the waste could make a difference

Can a machine be taught to understand the plant world?

Innovation for Good

Is This Weed-Spotting, Yield-Predicting Rover the Future of Farming?

The robot, developed by Alphabet Inc.'s X, will make its public debut at the Smithsonian

Once fall armyworms attack, lawns can go from green to brown in less than 48 hours.

Trending Today

Fall Armyworms Are Attacking Lawns and Crops on 'Unprecedented' Scale

These bug battalions turn grass yards from green to brown in less than 48 hours

Scientists recreated the famous beef, which is prized for its fat marbling, or sashi.

Innovation for Good

Scientists Create First 3-D Printed Wagyu Beef

The cultured cut matches the texture and marbling of the famous Japanese meat

If you see this bug, officials want you to kill it. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that can cause millions of dollars in damage to crops and forests.

Trending Today

See a Spotted Lanternfly? Squash It, Officials Say

The invasive insect poses a huge threat to agriculture and trees in the Northeast United States

A historic drought has choked the state’s water supply and threatened future almond production.

California Drought Hits World's Top Almond Producer

Extreme heat and a limited water supply are jeopardizing the future of the $6 billion industry

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