Is farming and gardening the same?

Both farmers and gardeners grow food or plants that need sun, soil and water. Farmers cultivate their crops on a large scale.

Is farming and gardening the same?

Both farmers and gardeners grow food or plants that need sun, soil and water. Farmers cultivate their crops on a large scale. Gardeners generally grow their crops on a smaller scale. Farmers use more machines, when gardeners do more things by hand.

The definitions of gardening and agriculture are difficult to pigeonhole. The entries in Merriam-Webster describe a garden as a place used to grow fruits and vegetables and a farm as an extension of land used for agriculture but in need of animals. That act of earning money not only by producing, but by selling, determines the difference between gardening and agriculture, also for the USDA and most farmers. Calling someone's farm (with its feminized connotation) a garden, a hobby farm (with its elitist connotation) or a subsistence farm (with its impoverished) can carry a touch of superiority.

At Red Hook West Urban Farm, when someone says, “We're going to the garden, Marvy gently corrects it. While most farms work hard to be as sustainable as possible, implementing the principles of organic production is much easier in a garden than in a large farm that needs to produce a reliable crop. Now the language changes all the time, and if people want to call the cultivation of vegetables on a very small scale “agriculture” and the grower “farmer”, they have the right to do so. So, affordable vegetables generally mean that someone has figured out how to grow them, not grow them in gardens.

Because plants are treated as individuals, gardens lend themselves to the selection of plants that have the desired characteristics (they resist insects, survive drought, produce good-tasting edible parts). For example, agriculture is the actual act of cultivating fields, cultivating crops and harvesting them. Some people will say that location matters, that if it's in a backyard, it should be a garden, but don't tell Wally Satzewich and Gail Vandersteen, who sold their rural farm after realizing they could make more money growing up in an urban environment. Farms, in general, are planted on a larger scale, the seed is spread on the ground or (now) is drilled in the furrow.

They describe their business, called Wally's Urban Market Garden, as an “subacre Urban Farm with multiple locations.” No profits, no money even to keep the farm running, let alone to buy food you can't produce, clothing, housing and everything you need. However, for many producers, calling their place of production a farm, no matter how small, no matter what form that production takes, whether they sell at a profit or give away food, is much more than a good business or a smart brand.

Madelyn Cintora
Madelyn Cintora

General explorer. Award-winning social media enthusiast. Freelance pop culture evangelist. Wannabe travel geek. General communicator.

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