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]