Ancient Greek Farming Lesson for Kids

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Kathryn Miedema Dominguez

Kathryn has taught elementary students for over ten years and has her master's degree in elementary education.

Expert Contributor
Lesley Chapel

Lesley has taught American and World History at the university level for the past seven years. She has a Master's degree in History.

Learn about farming and farming practices in ancient Greece. Discover the types of crops grown, the farm animals raised, planting and harvesting practices, and the use of crop rotation. Updated: 01/03/2022

Ancient Greek Farming

Did you know that some ancient Greeks didn't eat beans because they thought the souls of dead people were in them? Although some believed this superstition, most ancient Greeks ate beans as a big part of their diet. Along with beans, they grew many different crops.

Wheat and barley were the most commonly grown crops for making porridge and bread. Olive trees were grown and pressed for olive oil. In addition, grape vines were farmed to make wine. Wheat, barley, olives, and grapes were four of the top crops of ancient Greece. However, they grew a variety of fruits and vegetables, too.

Pears, figs, apples, and pomegranates were planted at their homes along with vegetables. The most widespread vegetables were cucumbers, lettuce, garlic, and onions. Almost everyone in ancient Greece was part of farming.

The land in Greece was not very good for farming so they had to make sure they grew a lot in the small plots. Most of the population were farmers who would grow enough for their families to survive and trade or sell any extras in the local markets. These plots of land would be passed down to the sons in the family.

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  • 0:03 Ancient Greek Farming
  • 1:20 Caring for Crops
  • 1:43 Crop Rotation
  • 2:26 Farming Animals
  • 2:51 Lesson Summary
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Caring for Crops

In the fall, the soil was prepared by plowing the fields. Grain crops such as wheat and barley were planted at this time and harvested in April. Olives grow on trees and were picked between November and February. Grape vines are like trees and continue to grow from year to year. However, they have to be pruned in the spring and then harvested in fall.

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Additional Activities

Prompts About Ancient Greek Farming for Kids:

Graphic Organizer Prompt:

Create a poster, chart, or some other type of graphic organizer that lists the kinds of crops, fruits, and vegetables that the ancient Greeks farmed. Make sure that your graphic organizer also notes what kinds of food items the crops were often used for.

Example: Grapes were used for wine.

Calendar Prompt:

Make a calendar that shows the important times of year for taking care of crops. Your calendar should include the seasons, months, and specific corresponding activities. Feel free to use illustrations on your calendar to make it more visually appealing.

Example: In the fall, wheat and barley were planted. Grapes were also harvested in the fall.

Essay Prompt 1:

In one paragraph, write an essay that answers the following questions: Why were most farms in Ancient Greece small? What kinds of people maintained farms?

Example: Farms were usually family-run and passed down through generations.

Essay Prompt 2:

Write an essay of one paragraph that explains how the ancient Greeks used crop rotation and why it was important. Also make sure that your essay describes the meaning of fallow.

Example: Crop rotation lets the soil get its nutrients back.

List Prompt:

Make a list of four types of livestock that ancient Greek farmers had. In parentheses next to each farm animal, write what it produced.

Example: You could draw a cow and then write ''milk'' in parentheses next to it.

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