Updated Dec 10, 2014

Consequences for Human Societies of Adopting Food Production

Prior to adopting food production, human societies collected plants and hunted animals for food. People moved from place to place in search of food. When wild edible plants and wild animal populations dwindled, people moved to another place where more such plants and animals were available. Adopting food production led to major changes in human societies in terms of means of subsistence and economic activities. In adopting food production, human societies experienced the following consequences:

  1. Food surpluses
  2. Reduced nomadism
  3. High population growth
  4. Specialization
  5. Trade

Food Surpluses: Direct Consequence of Adopting Food Production

Adopting food production enabled human societies to produce more food, with surpluses stored as reserves. This consequence of adopting food production had other important effects on the development of human societies, such as reduced nomadism, bigger populations, specialization, and trade.

Reduced Nomadism

A consequence of the food surpluses from adopting food production is that it enabled human societies to stay in one place. People no longer needed to move from place to place to collect plants and hunt animals.

High Population Growth

Another consequence of adopting food production was high population growth. The food surpluses were enough for bigger populations. Hunger and famine were avoided, thus making it easier for human societies to have bigger households.


One of the consequences of adopting food production was that fewer people were needed to produce food. This condition freed people to do other activities, paving the way for the specialization of tasks.


Adopting food production also had the consequence of trade: human societies traded food they had in abundance. Another consequence was the trade of goods from specialization, such as tools from blacksmiths and cloth from weavers.


  • Gabaccia, D. R. (2012). Food, Mobility, And World History. The Oxford Handbook of Food History, 305.
First published Dec 10, 2014. Updated Dec 10, 2014.