WashU Affiliated Authors: Gayle Fritz (Anthropology), author of Chapter 1: Native American Agriculture before European Contact
First Paragraph: The history of food production in North America before European contact is deep and diverse, with traditions that vary geographically and culturally. Archaeologists, historians, geographers, botanists, and agronomists have studied pre-Columbian agriculture for more than a century, and it remains a widely discussed topic in textbooks and scholarly publications. Members of the general public are also intrigued by information about past Native American farming. These studies, after all, reveal where some of our foods came from and how people grew crops in challenging environments without metal tools or modern mechanical devices. The past might even hold clues to help us cope with issues such as climate change and to explore alternative methods to the low-diversity, high-energy input systems practiced by most American farmers today.
Citation: A Companion to American Agricultural History. United Kingdom, Wiley, 2022.