Agriculture

Agriculture2
Image from Steve Bowers
Many rotating habitats are used for agriculture

Agricultural technologies and techniques are at the foundation and origin of Terragen civilization. Agriculture began with the prehistoric domestication of animal and plant species and microbial cultures that made civilization itself possible in the following Agricultural Age, expanded tremendously with the primitive monocultures of the mechanized farms, factory barns, and greenhouses of the Industrial Age, grew again in scope during the Information and Interplanetary ages with the addition of gengineered organisms, tissue cultures, and sophisticated polycultural management techniques, and culminated in High Tech civilizations with the advent of advanced neogens and a host of neumann capable hylonano, bionano and synano organisms that are part of any modern mechosystem. Though the relative proportion of agricultural activity in the economy and proportion of persons engaged in agricultural tasks steadily declined as other technologies rose in importance, and though in principle it is possible for a typical modern sophont to survive solely on the products of programmed disassemblers and nanofacs, agriculture remains essential to civilized life for most cultures, whether they are those of simple humans, rianths, or other prims cultivating species now millennia old or are vecs or virtuals harvesting the energy and materials that they ultimately depend on through the agency of hylonano plantbots.

It may be that transapients practice a form of agriculture of a sort. The modosophont civilizations that are directly or indirectly under their sway are thought by some to be used in some transapient equivalent of the way that a human baseline of ancient times might have used a field fo wheat or cabbage, a vat of yeast, a barn cat, a herd or cattle, or an orchard or plantation of trees. However, transapient pronouncements on this point are apparently contradictory and sometimes confusing, and the opinions of sophont-level experts and institutes are divided.

 
Articles
  • Aeroponics  - Text by AI Vin
    A soil-less method of plant cultivation using mist.
  • Agricultural Age  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    The formative period for civilized humanity on Old Earth, from about 7000 BT (4000 b.c.e.), when the first societies transformed by agricultural technologies appeared, to about 270 BT (1700 b.c.e.) when the first societies transformed by Industrial technologies arose, bringing about the Industrial Age.
  • Agricultural Revolution - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; some additions by Stephen Inniss
    The first stage of the Kardashev Type 0 Civilization, in which people move away from living as bands of gatherers and hunters, and begin to cluster into villages and develop culture. Cultivation of crops and tending of livestock enables a much higher population density than is possible with nomadic tribalism, and also allows specialization of labor, the development of skills and urbanization, writing, priesthood, slaveholding, taxes, a standing army, and other aspects of civilized culture.
  • Agricultural Science  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The application of biology and related sciences and technology to the production of food, natural fiber, and other products.
  • Agricultural Scientist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified from the original write-up by Robert J. Hall
    A student of agricultural science who advises agriculturalists.
  • Agrimonkey  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    An ancient superclade of presophont splices, derived from a variety of Terragen baseline monkey species and originally designed as specialized labourers and servants.
  • Artificial Evolution - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Directed evolution, evolution guided by artificial selection, controlled environments, gengineering, bionano, or other such means, as opposed to evolution left to natural selection.
  • Artificial Meat Production  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Food production takes many forms.
  • Bacca  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Family of crops derived from the tobacco plant through gengineering during the interplanetary era and later. Designed for use in space hydroponics, different strains produce livestock feed, vegetables, drugs and decorative flowers. Especially common is Qianxuesen, a bacca vegetable eaten by terragen bionts boiled or mashed.
  • Bioforge  - Text by Todd Drashner
    A biological factory or manufacturing device capable of creating a wide range of biotech products.
  • Biotech - the Early Years  - Text by Martin Andreas Cieslik, M. Alan Kazlev, and J.R. Mooneyham
    The history of biotech during the Information Age.
  • Biotics  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Biotic drugs consist of genetically modified living plants or animals that are consumed to provide the effect of pharmaceuticals.
  • Cybernetic Livestock  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Robocows & so on
  • Deliplants  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Deliplants are splice or neogen plants designed to provide equivalents to the animal products once consumed by human baselines on Old Earth: not only meat, but also other products such as eggs, milk, blood or cheese.
  • Endurasoy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev after original by Kevin Self
    Interplanetary age gengineered edible grain. A genetic blend of baseline soy and Cis-Lunar neogen plants, endurasoy is high in protein, fiber, and vitamins, and resistant to almost all known diseases and pests. Although its robustness makes it indispensable as a high yield plant, it can disrupt ecosystems on low and medium tech biospheres if not kept in check.
  • Fallow - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; amended by Stephen Inniss
    In prim (pre- and anti-industrial) societies, fallow land is land that has been left ploughed but not planted for one season. This helps the soil recover its fertility. Even so, this method of farming is grossly inefficient and ecologically destructive compared sophisticated polycultural techniques or with higher tech bio-nano assisted agriculture.
  • Farm Analogy, The  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Anders Sandberg
    Infamous forgery circulated on the net in the 430's purporting to be an authentic post from one AI to another, showing how they undertake "people farming".
  • Farmer AIs - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Political ai orientation pertaining to the stasist pro-human quadrant. "People farmers" see humans are nice and should be protected and even advanced, but it should be an organised change. The name derives from the Farm Analogy, although it has since acquired other connotations (hydroponics farm, neogenic crops, etc).
  • Food Production  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    There are many ways of making food: hunting/gathering from the environment, traditional farming and animal rearing, industrialized farming, meat factories, culturing plants hydroponically, vat grown meats, artificial meats based on yeast, algae or bacteria, as well as food built directly by matter compilers.
  • Forestry  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev from the original by Robert J. Hall
    Sustainable management of forests, specially on terraformed worlds, large orbitals and biohabitats
  • Garden Paste Utility Nano  - Text by John B
    Utility nanotech that is used in place of, or in combination with, soil.
  • Genestick  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Various compact genetic analysis and engineering devices.
  • Gourd Houses  - Text by AI Vin
    A biotech house grown from a vine-like plant.
  • Hydroponics  - Text by AI Vin
    A soil-less method of plant cultivation using water.
  • Lantern Plant  - Text by David Hallberg
    A gnarled, bonsai-like potted plant with ivy-like reddish-green leaves.
    It produces large, trumpet-like flowers that are transparent, hard as glass and point upwards. At the bottom of the flower a series of glands produce a flammable liquid, not unlike kerosene. A long, spongy stamen can be set alight and used as a wick.
  • Marijuana  - Text by KLS
    A herbaceous plant from Old Earth in the genus Cannabis, known as a source of psychoactive chemicals. Although once widely considered a very harmful drug, and outlawed, marijuana was eventually made more legal than tobacco in many polities, though later such laws became either irrelevant or unenforceable due to the rise of DNI mediated drugware and easy 'natural' drug production at home.
  • Meatshrooms  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Gengineered mushrooms, with fruiting bodies that have the taste, texture, and nutritional qualities of animal flesh.
  • Mechmoss and Nanoalgae  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Simple sessile photosynthetic nanotech or synano neumann-capable devices/organisms.
  • Mechology, Mechosystem  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Colloquial term for the entire system of non-sophont machines, databases, programs, etc. that supports and controls the infrastructure throughout most of the civilized galaxy.
  • Mushrooms  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    The large fleshy fruiting body produced by some varieties of Terragen fungi.
  • Nanorot  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Synano disassembly swarm, often feral with high nuisance value.
  • Nanoseed - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Nanotech "seed", a self-contained and sealed capsule containing assemblers and replicators either pre-programmed with templates or instructed from an external source. The seed is "planted" on a substrate, and activated with energy or a nutrient spray. It then grows into the desired product, using locally acquired resources and ambient energy (e.g. sunlight) or in the case of some large nanoseeds, a small amat battery.
  • Plantbots  - Text by Stephen Inniss and Steve Bowers
    Dry nano or synano robots powered by light and capable of autonomous growth and reproduction; generally sessile or with limited movement. So named because they are equivalent in role to biological plants.
  • Polyculture - Text by Stephen Inniss
    In agriculture, the skill or practice of raising a mixture of crops and species together in the same place or at the same time so as to maximize overall production. This is in direct contrast to the Industrial Age and early Information Age practice of monoculture. Traditional To'ul'h agricultural practices made extensive use of this strategy. In Terragen history, polyculture practices became an essential part of the support system of Interplanetary Age habs, and have been important ever since.
  • Reef, Reef-city  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Colloquial term for large gengineered arcologies often found on bioist worlds and habitats, particularly in the Biopolity.
  • Road Root  - Text by Michael Walton
    Self-repairing biotech road and highway systems.
  • Safeshrooms  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Genetically engineered mushrooms, intended to prevent alcohol abuse.
  • Spaceweed - Text by Steve Bowers and John B
    A gengineered organism based on bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) that has been modified so that it that can develop in Gas Giant rings, with a small (100-200 metres) bladder full of breathable air, and edible fruit and nuts growing on the inside. The bladders are loosely connected, with insulated flexible corridors between the bladders, and all the ice and rock of the rings incorporated into the spaceweed to avoid collision damage.
  • Tobacco  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    The prepared leaves of the Old Earth tobacco plant Nicotiniana tabacam, used by Terragen mammals as a drug. The active substance is nicotine, a cholinergic agonist with mild mood and cognition enhancing effects and strong addiction potential. The drug is commonly smoked or chewed.
  • Vegetable Patch - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Slang term for the biofacturing dyson trees and megacomplexes orbiting the superjovian Little Darwin, in the Zoeific Biopolity.
  • Watermelons  - Text by John Edds
    A popular and diverse gengineered food plant.
  • Yggdrasil Bush, Yggy  - Text by Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers
    Variant species of the orwood biological space habitat.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss

Initially published on 11 February 2009.