North America | Wheat
Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.John 12:24
Until recently the most widespread of the world’s three main food crops, wheat, in 2007, dropped to third position after maize and rice.
Wheat is widely cultivated as a cash crop. The popularity of foods made from wheat flour creates a large demand even in economies with significant food surpluses. Wheat flour is one of the most important foods in European and North American culture, and the defining ingredient in most breads, pastries and pasta.
In North America, most wheat flour has had the germ and bran removed. What is left has no fiber and very little nutrition. Vitamins and minerals are put back in, but not as many as are taken out. Whole wheat flour has a greater fiber content and lots more minerals and vitamins.
The history of wheat is part of the history of humanity. Wild wheat was domesticated in the Fertile Crescent of Western Asia about 10,000 years ago, and wheat-growing reached the Aegean by 8500 BC and the Indian subcontinent by 6000 BC. Wheat reached Ethiopia, Great Britain, Ireland and Spain 5,000 years ago and Spanish missions brought it to North America in the 16th century.
The primordial nature of wheat has given it symbolic meaning in mythology and religion. It is considered the fruit of the earth, a gift of life and of the gods, associated with purity, covenant and blessing.