Learner's definition of SUBSISTENCE
the amount of food, money, etc., that is needed to stay alive
They depended on hunting and fishing for subsistence.
Farming is their means of subsistence.
subsistence farming/agriculture [=farming that provides enough food to live on but not enough food to sell to other people]
More than a quarter of the population lives below (the) subsistence level. [=a level of income that provides only enough money for basic needs]