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Farming is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life.[1] Agriculture is the field encompassing the cultivation of these animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Farming is different from gardening in that it relies on the cultivation of wide open spaces. Gardening on the other hand is done in a agricultural field arranged around a family house. Permaculture for example is type of gardening.


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.

The history of agricultureW dates back thousands of years, and its development has been driven and defined by greatly different climates, cultures, and technologies. However, all farming generally relies on techniques to expand and maintain the lands suitable for raising domesticated species. For plants, this usually requires some form of irrigation, although there are methods of dryland farmingW; pastoralW herding on rangelandW is still the most common means of raising livestock.

The British Agricultural Revolution and the Green Revolution have massively increased food production and helped prevent the widespread famine that was predicted after WW2. They also increased the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which in turn allowed the use of less efficient industrial agricultural systems based on monocultures.

In the developed world, these agricultural systems based on large-scale monocultures have since then become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is increased adoption of systems that use several crops (polyculture) aswell as increased implementation of additional techniques (ie agroforestry, integrated pest management, zero-tillage, community-supported agriculture, urban agriculture, ...) More radical agricultural systems have also started to emerge, ie organic agricultural systems. This, in an attempt to reduce the requirement of large amounts of energy, chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, and water and to eliminate deep ploughing which causes the soil to loose much of its nutrients, and carbon and is also a main cause of soil dehydration, erosion and eutrophication of neighbouring waterways.

Increasing the food production from agriculture

According to a 2009 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the world will have to produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed a projected extra 2.3 billion people.[2] The question remains however on how this will be achieved. This as urban development is shrinking the agricultural land base and fossil fuel reserves are dwindling, increasing the demand of crops cultivated for biofuel production. In addition to this other issues aswell are hindering in achieving the new goals. For example, sea-level rise[3] will contaminate a very large percentage of the agricultural fields with sea salt and make them no longer suitable for continued food production?[4]

  • the fact that food is produced far from the point of consumption, increasinge the energy requirements (requiring more crops for biofuel production) and also being a factor in the ecological impact of the food. The problem also makes truly fresh produce a rare luxury. Local food is a response to these concerns.
  • the fact that a lot of produced food is discarded, despite being perfectly formed. For example, melons that are too small is are thrown away, as they can not be sold on the auction. A lot of food that has tiny imperfections is also thrown away, for example carrots, cucumbers, ... that are not perfectly straight, or nectarines that have minor dents. Although if the food is composted and reused on the agricultural field, the ecological impact is very minor, it does reduce the efficiency and hence puts a strain on agriculture.

See also


  1. International Labour Office (1999). Safety and health in agriculture. International Labour Organization. pp. 77–. ISBN 978-92-2-111517-5. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
  2. Global food production will have to increase 70% for additional 2.3 billion people by 2050. September 24, 2009.
  3. Sea level rise: 2m rise expected by 2100 A.D., 6,5m by 2200 A.D.
  4. Earth under water documentary
For the introduction.
This page or section includes content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Agriculture. The list of authors can be seen in the history for that page. As with Appropedia, the text of Wikipedia is available under the CC-BY-SA.

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