Biodiversity, Food and Farming for a Healthy Planet

How do farmers grow food around the world?

Different types of farming

There are many different ways of growing crops and raising livestock that can be grouped into three broad categories: small-scale farming, industrial farming and farming.

Small-scale farmers grow food for themselves, their families and sometimes for the local market, if they have extra, using the resources they have. They grow both local foods and common foods, such as maize. Some small-scale farmers raise fish! Raising fish in captivity is called aquaculture. Often small-scale farmers use their local or traditional knowledge to grow local foods. This knowledge is developed over generations and is tested and updated as conditions change.

Did you know that humankind’s oldest social activity is eating?
The traditional or local knowledge of small-scale farmers enables them to grow and raise many local plants and animals and to cook these foods in diverse ways. Local plants are well adapted to the climate and growing conditions. Often many small-scale farmers share seeds within their communities. For example, in Kenya, many farming communities usually gather after harvest time to share knowledge and trade seeds of local crops, including cowpeas, millet, sorghum, and squash. Also, at these gatherings people often share recipes for cooking diverse foods.