Let's just say that you are stuck in a different world. You found a biological research and production starship wreck...

You decided to have GMO plants/seeds agriculture on your land that you bought from a local noble to make a living in this medieval-like society. You don't need serfs/plebs/peasants to till your land as you have your robots to do that for you and they dont know it since it is remotely located in a valley teeming with monsters which you already annihilated using your robots.

Let's say the total land that you can plant on is 23 hectares.

How will you establish your business and get rich with the said GMO agriculture scheme? What problems would you encounter along the way before you can establish an economic foothold? How will you use this scheme to your advantage for both political purpose just in case?

Forget about the local lords trying to take over your land, it's naturally surrounded by mountains and, if that fails, you have a literal army of robots armed with weapons capable of wiping them out of existence, not to mention you can do biological warfare.

It's a magical medieval society just to let you know.

  • $\begingroup$ My question is, why aren't the farmers already using magical constructs to do the labor? $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2019 at 21:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What can you grow? Only GMO versions of local cultures, or any kind of exotic spices and fruits? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Aug 21, 2019 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Draco18s magicians cant be bothered to do menial work of peasants $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2019 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander any gmo plants we have today locals has the same thing but far more primitive though there are some exotic fruits or plants unique to them. $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2019 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ Do local peasants build greenhouses? Can you build them, if they can't? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Aug 21, 2019 at 22:17

2 Answers 2


It would be extremely hard. Modern GMO seeds are modified so that the seeds they produce will not be as abundant. Something to do with chemicals and stripping certain sections of DNA or something along those lines. Even if your seeds could reproduce, you run into a lot of modern problems

Nothing grows for free and your widely abundant crops drain all the nutrients from the soil leaving it worthless. Without industrial vats of nutrients to pump back into the ground, you will need to switch locations every couple of years to ensure your plants have access to the necessary nutrients.

Due to how much GMO seeds can produce you will also run into issues with the local insect life. Insects will love to munch on your super nutritional and energy intense seeds. Without access to pesticides, an appropriate way to distribute it or huge insect nets that are constantly monitored for damage, your plants will quickly be eaten by the local insects.

The above two points require you to source a large amount of chemicals which raises the cyclic question of where all the resources you are consuming come from? Robots require maintenance and energy to run. Your spaceship would need to be capable of charging every Robot and repairing it, likely requiring components like Steel, copper, gold, Silicon, plastics, many of which would no be available or easy to obtain.

Finally, you would also need a distribution network to sell this crop to local villagers and kingdoms. In a medieval society, the transportation methods just don't exist. A horse drawn carriage can only carry so much and travel so far in a day. It is nothing compared to a fleet of trucks which can essentially drive all day.

It would make more sense for you to take over the closest kingdom using your Robot army and have everyone pay you tribute so you can live a cushy life with no responsibilities.

  • $\begingroup$ That's the basic issue: The plants wont grow well enough to harvest much without pesticides and fertilizers. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Aug 22, 2019 at 6:36

It would be very difficult, because you're playing by the wrong rules.

Let's start with this big one: Most European medieval societies lacked enough disposable income to purchase your food.

Then let's move to the next big hurdle: There was no large scale food preservation or transport infrastructure. Most of your crop would simply rot (or feed rodents).

But let's look past those: If you did manage to sell the crop for a large sum, there wasn't much banking infrastructure in most places to handle money safely, so all that coinage is where? At home with you in a strong room? Uh-oh, you just became a target for bandits and corrupt local leaders.

And that's before we get to not-very-effective rule of law (by today's standards), encouraging those leaders to trump up charges and confiscate your super-farm for their own enrichment.

You're playing by the rules of an industrialized society: Disposable income, easy and cheap transport, a whole industry of varied food preservation and value-added products, easy/cheap/safe money movement, and laws that are applied reasonably fairly.

Folks in the Medieval weren't stupid. But they had different rules for success. To be successful, you need to be a bigshot: Rich and Tough. You need an ostentatious mansion and your own company of goons to guard your money, guard your robots, and to keep the other upwardly-mobile nobles from swindling or intriguing or otherwise stealing the source of your wealth right out from under you. Be prepared to pay monumental bribes, er I mean 'taxes', to the local feudal lords to leave you alone (and prevail in disputes), smaller bribes to fund your own private intelligence network, and to fight the occasional duel or resist assassination when a forged will is about to turn up.

Oh, and it would help if your farm turned a profit to pay for all this protection. Make sure to pop in occasionally and see to the actual business. Likely multiple businesses, as you will become a pioneering mass waggoneer, too. And a huge value-added food processor (milling, drying, smoking, pickling, etc.) And, by necessity, a banker. You're going to need a lot of goons to protect all that infrastructure and industry.

Because of heavy use by all your industries and all those wagons and all those workers, your roads are likely to be awful...especially during the muddy seasons. You might consider inventing steam engines and railways a few centuries early.


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