In this weeks reading, Thursday’s reading actually, I thought it was interesting how farming was supposedly started. The idea that farming never really had a set starting point was surprising, yet what they considered not farming seemed a bit controversial to me. According to dictionary.com farming means: the active production of useful plants. In the article titled The Roots of Modernity we hear of Hunter-Gatherer societies planting seeds at sites they would eventually return to.
This does sound like farming, until you read the first part of the definition again; the active production. Planting some seeds and leaving them does not require active care, probably because the seeds they were leaving to grow weren’t not genetically modified like the maize now is. Because they were not genetically modified, depending on the plant I assume, the plants can fall over and their seeds can grow again, as opposed to the maize seeds being so genetically modified and shatter proof, that the seeds can not spread out on the ground enough to grow again.
So, leaving the seeds to grow on their own, probably is only mildly farming. At least not to the extent that with farming you can choose what you want to grow and what foods you want to live on. But with this you plant the seeds of whatever plant last inhabited the ground.
What also surprised me was in one of the articles, when they were discussing hunter-gatherer societies, they mentioned that because the groups are so nomadic, it is difficult for women to have multiple small children at a time. This made a lot of sense, because you can only carry so many babies at one time, but it seemed contradictory to what we have been discussing in class. In class we decided that women do the gathering so that they can stay home and take care of the babies, but if women only ever had one baby, the possibility of women hunting seems a bit more possible.