Hundreds of years ago, the majority of this planet’s population was involved in agriculture, because we were all dependent on the land to provide food and necessary resources. Thus, it could be said that we were mostly an agrarian society, one which depends on what it grows in order to eat. It was only when industrialization happened that things started to change, because now one person was able to grow enough to feed other people as well, and thus sell his surplus to them. This was good for some, but bad for many, because numerous jobs and occupations were simply erased by the machines, who could work more and better and cheaper.
On a large scale, an agrarian society is one which gathers most resources out of farming and agriculture; what’s impressive is that at some point, this was a common occupation throughout the world. Whether they owned their own land or leased one from noblemen, the common people dealt with growing grains, cereals, vegetables, fruits and animals. This provided food for everyone, but still things were not easy because you relied on the weather for good crops. A perfect example is the Irish famine, when a potato blight and drought ruined entire crops of potatoes and left the country in a desperate state for the years to come; massive emigration occurred, and those left behind sometimes died of starvation or disease.
However, continents like Europe have always seen the importance of agriculture, which is why during the Middle Ages many people became wealthy by dealing in this business. And it is still from Europe that agriculture was revolutionized, starting with the British Agricultural Revolution in the 18th century. At about the same time, Thomas Jefferson was encouraging his country to expand on the other side of the Ocean by telling them to focus on agriculture. Today, the agrarian society still exists, but on a much smaller scale; rural areas around the world still survive and rely mostly on agriculture, but for some it is also a religious or cultural choice.
The Amish or the Menonites choose to live in simplicity, and some extreme groups refuse anything to do with technology and modern techniques of farming. Thus, you can still find people pushing plows dragged by horse, people in carriages and women making their own clothes and butter. Some 40 years ago, the Khmer Rouge tried to turn Cambodia into an agrarian society where people were denied access to education and were brainwashed to believe anything their leaders would tell them. Furthermore, their attempts to revolutionize agriculture and become self-sufficient led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
While maintaining an agrarian society is still essential and vital for our survival, forcing it on people often gives bad results. Nevertheless, we are soon to be confronted with another hunger problem, stemming from the fact that the earth’s population is still increasing. By the end of this century we will be 7 billion people, all in need of food and water; governments, but especially people around the world, will need to turn to agriculture again, and encourage everyone to do so. Furthermore, finding eco friendly ways of growing food is also important because we have already begun consuming un-replenishable resources.