For thousands of years, the world regarded the act of growing a plant in the soil as a biological process. But—as in all systems—the need for scalability to meet growing demands called for new, more efficient technologies to improve food production. The agricultural advancements of the post–World War II era were nothing short of transformational in this respect. Worldwide, food production skyrocketed, owing to advancements including improved seed varieties, modernized irrigation, better control of plant diseases and pests, and increased use of chemical fertilisers.
In more recent years, we have realized that the gains achieved through the tools of the Green Revolution are not limitless. We have also realized that the intensity of agricultural production has some significant, long-term impacts on soil, air and water resources. These realizations have helped prompt a renewed interest in the biological elements of crop production.