Feeding nine billion in 2050 without exhausting the planetary reserves is perhaps the greatest challenge mankind has ever faced. The principles of production ecology form the fundament to the ‘availability pillar’ of Global Food Security and with that lie at the heart of food production. They can be applied to both crops and animal production. This course on the basics of crop production will discuss why yields in some parts of the world are lagging behind and identify the agro-ecological drivers that shape the wide diversity of production systems. Furthermore, key issues relating to bridging of yield gaps and how these link to different visions of sustainability will be explored.