subsistence farming


: farming or a system of farming that provides all or almost all the goods required by the farm family usually without any significant surplus for sale
: farming or a system of farming that produces a minimum and often inadequate return to the farmer

called also subsistence agriculture

subsistence farmer noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The vast majority of residents live extremely close to the bone, patching together a living by herding livestock and subsistence farming crops of buckwheat, potatoes, and barley. Ben Ayers, Outside Online, 27 July 2022 For the people of La Toma and environs, gold mining has historically been a key source of income, supplementing subsistence farming. Patrick J. Mcdonnellforeign Correspondent, Los Angeles Times, 25 Sep. 2022 Shura to maintain her property value in a New York commuter town, and Alyona as a form of subsistence farming. Cressida Leyshon, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2022 The Body of Liberties did not rise organically from a society based largely in subsistence farming with English common law as its default. Marilynne Robinson, Harper’s Magazine , 20 July 2022 With the addition of modern fertilizers and farming techniques, the country went from subsistence farming to commercial farming. The Editors, National Review, 12 July 2022 Tzucubal is an Indigenous Quiche community of about 1,500 people in the mountains nearly 100 miles northwest of the capital, where most live by subsistence farming. CBS News, 30 June 2022 Cottar is against all of it, arguing that buying the land the Masai have always lived on forces them into subsistence farming elsewhere, and into a war with the animals that eat their crops and kill their cattle. Melissa Twigg, CNN, 20 May 2022 The 65-year-old has resorted to subsistence farming with his sons. Washington Post, 13 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subsistence farming.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1892, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of subsistence farming was in 1892

Dictionary Entries Near subsistence farming

Cite this Entry

“Subsistence farming.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

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