Subsistence agriculture is a form of agriculture that provides people with a basic source of food. The closest example of this type of farming is urban gardening, where people grow vegetables and other foods in pots or gardens. Subsistence farmers rely on these methods of food production to feed their families. They plan ahead for the harvest and work together to grow enough crops for the family. All family members contribute to the farm.
Resilience factors in subsistence agriculture
Farmers referred to their farms as resilient if they were able to withstand hardships and address challenges. Resilience was correlated with resistance and was seen as a property of the farm, livestock herd, or both. While these farmers’ definitions are comparable to the scientific definition, there are differences in their use of resilience indicators and the interpretations of resilience factors.
Research methods such as in-depth interviews may be used to examine resilience. However, researchers should be careful to assign specific resilience capacities without fully understanding the context. In some cases, respondents may not even use resilience terminology and might not be able to convey this meaning. To address this problem, researchers should use dialogical interpretation, which can enhance the validity of their analysis.
Diversification is an important attribute of farm and SES resilience. Farmers need diversity in all components of their livestock farms, whether they are raising cattle, raising vegetables, or growing grains. Diversification helps spread risks and create buffers. Diversification also helps farmers’ perceptions of resilience.
Comparison of subsistence agriculture to urban gardening
In order to create this book, we interviewed various individuals and organizations. We worked with the Kresge Foundation and PolicyLink to design, guide, and edit this study. We also interviewed Ben Simmons, a former intern at PolicyLink, who has helped us with this project. We are also grateful to Paulette Jones Robinson, who edited this report.
Many urban farmers are limited by a lack of access to infrastructure. Without water lines, machinery, sorting facilities, and refrigeration facilities, they are often forced to farm on public land. They are also limited by security concerns. As a result, urban farmers are hesitant to invest in infrastructure.
In the United States, urban farming has expanded in recent years. For example, the city of Detroit, which once had a population of over two million, now has a population of only 700,000 people. In the 1940s, the government pushed citizens to grow their own produce, which helped alleviate the strained food system. In fact, victory gardens accounted for 44 percent of the fresh vegetables produced in the United States during the war. Moreover, many of these gardens have been donated to local food banks, which has made them an invaluable source of healthy food for urban dwellers.