Contrary to a common saying, one of the true oldest professions in the world is agriculture or farming. While our forefathers and foremothers depended on hunting and gathering, some of the earliest records of humanity point to sedentary societies engaged in domestication of animals and propagation of plants – hence agriculture.
Today’s world is urbanizing at a rapid rate. Greater than 50% of the world’s population live in urban areas. However, there are many people still living in rural areas who are, to a large degree, surviving through farming or farm related enterprises. There are even components of agriculture in urban areas such as food production in home gardens and, of course, every urban household needs food to survive.
Agriculture strategies are still necessary and relevant for food and income all over the world. These strategies are an opportunity for community development projects.
So, what are some of the common agricultural systems in the world today? I propose a simple but not inclusive list:
- Subsistence food production. Generally found in the poorer, developing countries, there are population segments and pockets that literally live hand-to-mouth. They basically eat and “subsist” on what they can grow/raise and earn income by selling excess produce. These populations are usually in rural, isolated areas removed from most basic services and survive on small parcels of land.
- Supplemental farming for food and income. This is where the breadwinner and/or other family members has off-farm employment. The “family farm” provides supplemental food and income.
- Support farming. These are larger farms and industries that support farming operations by producing inputs and products that help to fuel both small and large farming operations.
- Sole-business farming. These are the huge corporations and conglomerate business farms that produce now a high percentage of the world’s food supply. They are huge operations with heavy chemical and genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and are commercialized productions from farm to market.
Most of BGR’s agriculture work and strategies worldwide focus on the first two categories and dabbles a bit in the third category. Our next few blogs will look at the subsistence and supplemental farming projects that we use to engage individuals and communities in Kingdom community development.