From the humble beginnings of agriculture thousands of years ago to the cutting-edge practices of today, farming has been an integral part of human history and development. It’s not just about planting seeds and reaping harvests; farming has some quirky, interesting tales to tell. Let’s delve into eight fun facts about this timeless profession.
1. Blueberry Traditions: In Maine, wild blueberry farming embraced a unique technique: burning the fields annually. This practice, adopted from the Passamaquoddy tribe, is rooted in the fact that most of the blueberry plant mass is located underground.
2. The Marvel of Aquaponics: Merging fish and plant farming, aquaponics leverages fish water and waste to nurture plants. Remarkably, it can operate on a mere 2% of the water traditional farming consumes.
3. The Deaf Salmon Dilemma: A staggering 95% of farm-raised salmon suffer from hearing loss. Several factors, including rapid growth in stressful environments, genetics, and constant exposure to light (used to promote more feeding), are believed to contribute.
4. Ants, the Pioneering Farmers: Humans weren’t the first to take up farming. Ants have been cultivating fungus for a whopping 60 million years. Moreover, they’ve “domesticated” aphids, herding them to graze on leaves and extracting the sweet honeydew they produce.
5. Deserts Were Once Grasslands: Rewind 7,000 years and the now-arid Sahara and Arabian deserts were lush grasslands apt for pastoral farming. Astoundingly, these regions also hosted vast lakes, deep enough to sustain creatures like whales—evidenced by the fossilized skeletons found there.
6. Biblical Generosity: Ancient laws referenced in the Bible urged farmers to leave portions of their fields unharvested for strangers. This benevolent practice persists in certain parts of the world today.
7. Ducks Over Chickens: Faced with the devastating threat of floods, some Bangladeshi farmers made a pragmatic switch: opting for ducks instead of chickens. Why? Simply put, ducks float!
8. The Pink Salmon Debate: The priciest aspect of salmon farming isn’t their nutrition but a coloring pellet that imparts a pink hue. While these pellets are crucial for salmon health, they don’t harm human consumers. Those seeking non-colored salmon can opt for wild varieties in season or shell out more for “natural” salmon available year-round.