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Frances D. Burton

In: 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 25: Food: Plants and Animals

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Food: Plants and Animals
Food: Plants and animals

Today the world population is 6.7 billion people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2009). In 1900, there were “only” 1.65 billion people on earth, 2.5 billion by 1950, with a projected 9 billion by 2050. While a number of factors have affected this exponential increase, not the least of which is reallocation of resources and labor (Boone, 2002), the abundance and distribution of food has played a major role, spurring technology to increase production and distribution. The result is the food crisis emerging in this early part of the 21st century.

Leading to this crisis, there are four major “events” in the history of food use. The first is cooking-the act of using heat to transform a substance ...

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