This week, we’re going back to basics, and ignoring cities to talk about farms.
Dr Sarah Taber is a North Carolina-based crop scientist who recently went viral. In a lengthy thread posted to Twitter, she explained why civilisations in different parts of the world developed entirely different diets: the short version is that wet regions developed low-meat diets, while dry regions developed high-meat diets. She went on to explain why cows are a useful source of food in those dryer regions, and also how much water you’d need to farm them.
Being me, I found all this fascinating, so I invited her to talk to me about it, down an occasionally dodgy Skype connection from a Chicago hotel room. She promised to explain “crops, soil and cows” – but also managed to cover the history of American farming, and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, too. Makes a change from trains, doesn’t it?
Skylines is the podcast from the New Statesman’s cities site, CityMetric. It’s hosted by Jonn Elledge.