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The Food and agriculture Portal

Man working in a rice field.
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells in an effort to produce energy, maintain life, and/or stimulate growth. Historically, people secured food through two methods: hunting and gathering, and agriculture.

Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture (e.g. permaculture or organic agriculture).

Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term: satisfy human food and fiber needs; make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”

Related portal: Permaculture
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Arcata Educational Farm
Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on crop rotation, compost, biological pest control, mechanical cultivation, and other techniques using natural processes, to maintain soil productivity and control pests. Organic farming excludes or strictly limits the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and livestock feed additives. Genetically modified organisms are excluded, and organic standards in Britain and Australia exclude engineered nanoparticles.

"Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved..." -- International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements

Organic standards
  • The land must be free of prohibited substances for 3 years prior to organic farming.
  • Seeds should be organic but right now the use of some non-organic seeds is permitted.
  • The use of genetic engineering, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation is prohibited.
  • Weeds are controlled with management practices and lots of work.
  • Garden pests are handled with integrated pest management practices which include biological, physical, and mechanical controls.
  • Some organic pesticides are permitted.
  • To maintain soil fertility organic farmers use methods such as: crop rotations, cover crops, animal manures, compost, and diversity in crops.
  • Some organic fertilizers are permitted.
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Project articles: Aleiha's parabolic solar cooker · Blue ox earthen oven · CCAT's Vermicomposting Bin · FBP Nutsy · Corn Cob Charcoal Crusher · Kiva's straw bale greenhouse · Parabolic basket and tin can solar cooker · WaterPod Rocket Stove · Wild Chick Farm

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