So Shall You Reap: Farming and Crops in Human Affairs

Otto T. Solbrig, Author, Dorothy J. Solbrig, With
Otto T. Solbrig, Author, Dorothy J. Solbrig, With Island Press $35 (304p) ISBN 978-1-55963-308-6
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
How are we going to feed an ever increasing population without destroying the environment? Why did it take almost 3000 years for wheat and barley cultivation to spread from Asia Minor to Greece--a distance of just 200 miles? These are some of the questions addressed in this wide-angled, engrossing survey of the links among farming, food and history. The Solbrigs--he teaches biology at Harvard, she is librarian at Harvard's Biological Laboratories--emphasize the interdependence of farming and the environment. Their study proceeds from early hunter-gatherers to the development of sedentary agriculture and explores the connections between sugarcane, slavery and exploitation; the spread of coffee, grapes, tobacco, cotton, rubber; and the advent of biotechnology. Full of intriguing facts, this work shows how modern, chemicalized, industrialized agriculture threatens biodiversity, destroys topsoil and forests, and contaminates the food chain. Illustrations not seen by PW. (May)
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