Agricultural Necessities

A CHE Primer on Energy | Perspectives | Agricultural Necessities

Agricultural Necessities

by Andy Davey & Emma Schroeder

Food provides our bodies the energy they need to function, but what sorts of energy are involved in the production of food? Farmers must cultivate soil, provide nutrients, lug water, and finally harvest plants they care for over a season. Energy for these practices comes from myriad sources, includding wind, muscles, and natural gas; all ofwhich leave markes on agricultural landscapes and laboring bodies. Since Word War II, our reliance on fossil fuels has grown, dramatically altering farmers' lives and farming spaces. Through what lens might we view this shift in energy use? Is this a shift from back-breaking drudgery to mechanical ease? From renewable to non-renewable sources? From poverty to abundance? From widespread knowledge of how food is grown to widespread ignorance?