Beyond the Commodity Market
Updated: Mar 25, 2020
In the first half of the twentieth century, we became increasingly concerned about how we could feed a growing population. In the decades after World War II, we answered this question, at least for a time, in a period that is now referred to as The Green Revolution. This period was defined by the adoption and sweeping use of four agricultural technologies — plant breeding, synthetic fertilizers, crop chemicals, and, beginning in the mid-90’s, genetic modification of plants. Alongside these technologies came changes in the supply chain: we began to treat most crops like commodities and, with the expanded use of elevators and railways, we were able to store and transport harvests in bulk.