Yes. The plants that are well suited to large-scale, mechanized agriculture are generally those foods that are readily available in the grocery stores and are relatively inexpensive. Research from the Food and Agriculture Association suggests that many humans take in most of their plant-based calories by eating only 12 different crop species—including wheat, corn, soy, rice and potatoes. Mechanized farming focuses on approximately 150 species of plants, yet there are thousands of edible, nutritionally valuable plants. Wild rice is an example of a crop that has not been suitable for mechanized farming, which partially explains why it is more expensive to purchase. Quinoa is an ancient grain that was once a staple of the Incas, yet because of it specific growing requirements has not thrived outside of the Andes. Even within crop plants that have been successful under large-scale agriculture, such as corn or potatoes, there are often hundreds of varieties that are never cultivated on large farms. These unique, often called heirloom, varieties are left to be grown by small-scale growers or home gardeners.
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