Wheat is one of the world's most important food crops. It is believed that wild relatives of wheat first grew in the Middle East. Wheat was one of the first plants to be cultivated. It was grown about 11,000 years ago.
Enormous changes in people's lives occurred because of wheat being grown. People began growing their own food and no longer needed to wander in search of food. Permanent settlements were established because wheat provided people with a stable food supply. Soon people grew enough wheat to feed people from other lands. Once there was extra wheat available, trade between various cultures developed.
By 4,000 B.C. wheat farming had spread to Asia, Europe and North Africa. New species of wheat developed because early farmers probably selected kernels from their best wheat plants to use as seeds for planting the following year's crop. That way, only the best wheat qualities were passed from one generation to the next. Soon wheat became an important world wide crop.