Impact of Agriculture on Food Supply: A History

Research output: Chapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Agriculture changed little over the past 10,000 years in terms of human employment and effort until the technological and industrial revolutions that marked the 19th and 20th centuries. Until that time, the vast majority of people were engaged in food production. In time, enough surplus food allowed for non-food-producing activities as well. Mechanical innovations and, later, chemical creativity transformed agriculture into a multinational agribusiness supplying food for the masses, while private farming dwindled down to almost nothing. At the same time, increasing population growth, higher life expectancy, and greater affluence has ramped up the demand for food products. This chapter chronicles how the scientific community has responded to these challenges to move toward agricultural sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChemistry's Role in Food Production and Sustainability
Subtitle of host publicationPast and Present
EditorsGillian Eggleston, Mary Virginia Orna, Alvin F. Bopp
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780841234284
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2019

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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  • Cite this

    Simon-Sarkadi, L. (2019). Impact of Agriculture on Food Supply: A History. In G. Eggleston, M. V. Orna, & A. F. Bopp (Eds.), Chemistry's Role in Food Production and Sustainability: Past and Present (pp. 29-46). (ACS Symposium Series; Vol. 1314). American Chemical Society.