Most archaeologists believe that the domestication of plants first took place in the Fertile Crescent around 10000 BC in the Middle East. While the fig is thought to be the first crop to be cultivated, starch wheat, barley, lentils, peas and flax are among the first crops to be grown. The first domesticated animals were sheep and goats, followed by a small number of cattle.
On the other side of the world, in what is now South and Central America, squash, corn, and beans were called the “Three Sisters” and represented an early example of knowledge about nutrition. When these plants were planted together, they not only preserved the fertility of the soil but also provided the necessary vitamins and minerals for human health.
In the Neolithic era, farmers used digging sticks—flat blades with long, rounded blades—to dig holes in the soil and plant seeds there. They also cleared land in the forest using axes and fire and created enclosures for animal feeding. However, while advanced agricultural techniques such as irrigation were practiced in Sumer as early as 5000 BC, Egyptian farmers could be proud of themselves, who owned a few crops and animals, along with morning and sickle use.
A light surface plow used by Mediterranean farmers dominated European farming until the Middle Ages, when heavy plows pulled by horses and a planting system based on a triple crop rotation system revolutionized agriculture and greatly increased the food supply.
Travels to Asia and the discovery of the New World in the 15th century brought about the exchange of crops and animals between Asia, Europe, and America, which had a profound impact on agriculture worldwide. Until the innovations of the 20th century, when engine-based farm machinery and mass production techniques and the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides became the standard, this impact changed agriculture on an unprecedented scale.