For 50 years, the amount of food we’re growing has steadily risen, and with it so has the amount of farmland used, until two decades ago, when food production started rising independently of new land. But how? There are different ways you can increase a farm’s productivity:
The most basic method is simply to throw more resources at the problem, although then there is always the problem of where to get those resources. You can plant more land, but first you have to find it. You can plant more crops on the land you already have, but you have to double up on resources and labour. You can try to give your crops more water, but with the drought only intensifying, good luck getting it. Still, for a long time, those were largely the options available if you wanted to grow more food.