Farm practice – what farmers actually do on their farms – is the crux of the whole endeavour. It is the thing that humanity absolutely has to get right – for if we do not, then, frankly, we have had our chips, and so has everything else.
Farming is so various and complex and inter-connected with everything else that people do, and with wild nature, that at this point it is hard to offer a coherent introduction to this section. Suffice to say only that we will look at all aspects of food production – but focusing in this section on the practice. The underlying science, the marketing, the economics and so on are all discussed elsewhere.
Rough structuring is certainly possible, however . Clearly we must have separate headings for Arable, Horticulture, and Livestock, the principal kinds of farm enterprise. The growth of interest in Agroforestry worldwide (or so it seems) is one of the few encouraging signs in the modern world. Aquaculture has often been neglected of late – but in the past it has often played a huge part worldwide and it could be of outstanding importance in the decades to come, particularly in shallow seas and brackish waters as the world warms up and coastal plains are flooded. The pros and problems of Organic farming (including Permaculture), is important in all contexts. So too are Farming for Wildlife, Farming in Cities, and the broad- brush notion of “The Multi-purpose Farm” – farms that double up as places for people to live, centres of learning and of care, spiritual renewal, and relaxation, havens for wildlife, sites for windmills, and so on. Each topic will surely give rise to various meta-discussions, too — such as monoculture versus polyculture, and so on and so on.