Part 1

Neolithic Age to Iron Age (approx. 4500 B.C.)

Very old and time-tested: in Central Europe, we have consumed wheat, lentils and caraway since the beginning of agriculture thanks to the Egyptians who had farmed for millennia. They brought many crops along on their northern migration. They spread seeds as well as knowledge of cultivation techniques, breeding and uses.

The first field cultivations in Central Europe allowed hunters and gatherers to become settled farmers. They began growing unfamiliar plant species around their homes. They also gathered wild vegetables like Good King Henry (and medicinal plants like elder from near their dwellings. Likewise, the first homegardens or “ghordhos” (Indo-Germanic for “enclosure”) arose. Thus, the fence gave the garden its name! Back then just as today, it protected vegetables and grains from wild animals and established a border between neighbors.

Some of these old crops are currently experiencing a renaissance. Protein-rich field beans, peas and lentils enable a vegetarian diet and are well suited to organic farming.