How can farmers sustain themselves all year with food if you can only harvest once a year?

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How can farmers sustain themselves all year with food if you can only harvest once a year?

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12 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Nowadays most farms are huge commercial operations. You sell the harvest for money and use the money to go grocery shopping like everyone else.

Back in ancient times? If the grain is kept dry and free from pests, it can keep year-round. Also preserving fruits and vegetables was very important.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They exchange their food for currency.

Currency is then exchanged for goods and services as needed throughout the year.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They do it by preserving it. Canning, drying, freezing, and salting! There are a lot of ways to preserve different foods after harvesting and slaughtering.

You can jar/can fresh fruits and vegetables and have them stay fresh for a very long time. Meats can be frozen and even jerkied to be kept long term.

If you are talking about sustaining by selling their harvest, you diversify. I work with a lot of farmers who after crop season change it up. Growing stuff in greenhouses, I talk to a farmer who makes and sells Christmas wreaths and other ever green holiday decorations in the winter.

Saving money. They know how much money they need to make it through to next harvest so they sell accordingly and save what they need until next season.

Anonymous 0 Comments

This problem explains the origins of the futures markets. They could “pre-sell” proceeds of their future harvest to speculators so they would have money in winter and spring.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Modern farmers aren’t subsistence farmers. They sell their crop for money and use money to buy groceries like anybody else does.

In the past, farmers had ways to store/preserve their crops such as storing corn or wheat in silos, root cellars, canning/preserving.

They’d also grow multiple crops with different harvest times, supplement with other types of labor to make money to buy other types of foods.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you want to be self-sufficient, or have to be because of where and when you rare:

1. You grow multiple things so you have options.

So you might grow wheat to pay taxes, barley for brewing, potatoes as another source of carbs, peas or beans to refresh the soil, some other root crop as fodder for animals in the winter; have some fruit trees, have a kitchen garden for vegetables and herbs

This diversity doesn’t wear out the soil as badly as monocropping does and it means you have work to do all around the year

2) You are more reliant on storage and preservation for times like the winter. This is why you have granaries, barns and root cellars. Canning and jam making if you are more modern. A lot of traditional dishes (pickles, sauerkraut, confit, ham) are for this purpose.

You might not be able to keep all your animals alive over winter, so you slaughter and preserve the excess in the autumn

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s been argued that growing wheat is the single greatest return on investment in human history, in terms of the number of grains you harvest compared to the number you plant, and the season only takes 3 months.  And wheat keeps well in proper storage.

Anonymous 0 Comments

1. Most staple crops, like grains (rice, wheat, maize, etc) and many vegetables (like potatoes, carrots, onions, beans/peas, etc) can last for quite a long time so long as they stay dry and away from pests like rodents and insects.
2. You can further preserve food, usually by storing it in containers to make it more difficult for moisture and pests to get to it (like in jars, barrels, cans, etc) and by deliberately treating it to make it last longer, usually by drying it, packing it in salt, smoking it, keeping it cold (we use refrigerators and freezers today, but in times past you could store food in your cellar, where the earth would serve to insulate it and keep it cool), or by fermenting it (milk into cheese and butter, cabbage into sauerkraut/kimchi, vegetables of all kinds into pickles, etc)
3. Most places outside of very cold areas usually can squeeze in more than one growing season per year. I live in a Temperate environment, and we have two harvests per year if you plant at the right times: Plant in spring to harvest in summer, plant in summer to harvest in autumn

Anonymous 0 Comments

You were not eating fresh food all winter. Maybe carrots and potatoes and other root veggies that would keep in a root cellar. Look at a lot of traditional food from northern climates. Salted fish, salt pork, pickles, aged cheese etc.

Anonymous 0 Comments

One of your primary assumptions is incorrect – “you can only harvest once a year.” Perhaps one crop might only be harvested once a year, but most family farmers are not mono-culture and have multiple fields with several different crops.

Many different plants have different harvest times. Some examples: Winter wheat is wheat that is planted in fall and harvested in summer. Several berry fruits, like strawberries and raspberries, are harvested in the summer months. Vegetables like potatoes are also a summer crop. I’m sure you are also aware of the many crops, such as staple grains, that are harvested in fall.

In addition, most family farmers have at least some animals on their farm. A handful of chickens will produce enough eggs to eat a hearty breakfast every day. Finally, like others mentioned, farmers go to the grocery store with the money they earn selling their produce in bulk.