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University of Toronto Mississauga
Pierre Desrochers

GGR287 Week 3 Lecture Subsistence Agriculture Basic characteristics: • small-scaled production • several different kinds of crops & animals • primarily for family consumption rather than sale Different types of Subsistence Agriculture 1. Shifting agriculture • burning down the forest to get subsistent agriculture • problem is that there is no incentive since the quality of the soil is poor, no point in staying in the same plot of land • Brazil, Indonesia, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands • aka slash & burn agriculture 2. Pastoral Nomadism • moving animals around to create high quality proteins • Dwelling (tent, yurt, carpet, etc.): animal fibres (wood, leather, sinews, etc.) from his flocks + few other things (wood) • Food: milk, dairy products (cheese, yogurt, etc.), meat, blood, etc. • Norway 1900s, Tibet early 20th Century 3. Rudimentary Sedentary Tillage • don't get very high yields, life style of poor rural regions "Ideal Type" of Subsistence Agriculture Crops • mostly cereals & tubers, but always some diversity • grow as much food as possible (costs no consideration); goal is to defeat next famine • stored & preserved until next harvest Farm Animals • fed inedible organic waste, low-grade forage, left to scrounge for themselves (insects, greens, etc.), occasional surplus • draft animals • bring some variety (meat, milk, egg, blood) in diet • source of (low quality) by-productions (skin, fibers) • insurance against crop failure "Food Security" in Subsistence Agriculture 1. Diversity in crop production & landscape elements • slopes, valleys, etc. • good against specific diseases & localized weather events, not so much against droughts, locusts, etc.) 2. Catch-up crops (can by grown quickly
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