Date of Award



Edward Van Buren


Arguably one of the most important innovations in all of human history has been the shift from hunting-and gathering towards agriculture. Many American states hold a rich agricultural tradition and have relied on the domestication of plants and animals for economic sustenance. Since the 17th century, the land of North Carolina has been utilized for the farming of a multitude of different crops. After World War II, America saw a dramatic shift in the nature of agricultural practices. Operations shifted from small-scale diversified production towards industrialized largescale facilities that rely heavily on innovative technology and an increase in fossil fuel availability. These industrial agricultural operations have succeeded in providing the world with plenty of food at a low price. Many tout industrialized farming as wholly beneficial. Often overlooked, however, are the multitude of risks such practices pose to human and environmental well-being.