What does “sustainable farming” mean to you? If you think of protection of the environment and conservation efforts when considering “sustainability”, you are on the right track.
Organic sustainable farming represents the “true” cost of production by considering all environmental factors. Sustainable agriculture techniques such as conservation tillage, crop rotation, and organic fertilization help to protect and enrich our ecosystems. By increasing the health of our environment, not only are we able to generate healthier food but we ultimately help the health of all living things.
Sustainable farming focuses first and foremost on a healthy growing medium – soil provides a stable home for plant roots, stores water, and supplies plants with nutrients for growth. These nutrients are passed on to us through food consumption. Unfortunately, large scale industrial agriculture has and continues to damage and deplete our soil of nutrients by over-applying fertilizers, pesticides, and causing wide-scale soil erosion.
Although soil erosion happens naturally over time, industrial farming practices are increasing the speed of agricultural soil erosion. Each year, US agriculture croplands see seven tons per acre of soil erosion on average. These processes also cause pollution to our waterways and ecosystems as well as disrupts air quality. To put it simply, agriculture that is not ecologically sound is not sustainable.
“A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Fortunately, there is a growing number of organic and natural farms popping up all over the country. Small-scale farms like these practice safe fertilization methods that do not damage our environment by using natural materials like manure and compost. Compared to synthetic fertilizers, these organic materials cause much less pollution.
How can you make an impact?
It is our ethical and moral responsibility to help preserve human life on Earth. We can do this by supporting farmers who are committed to helping the environment. The first step towards promoting sustainability is to choose organic produce. In order for a product to be labeled Certified Organic, it must be grown without synthetic fertilizers. Learn more about the USDA’s guidelines on Certified Organic items here.
We should also make an effort to get to know our organics farmers. Every time we choose to source sustainably, we are encouraging farmers to change their practices to those that are more environmentally friendly. This simple choice can change the world.
“I think people should buy from local sustainable farms because it is the best thing for all parties involved. Through all of our decisions we effect the world we leave behind and the world we create…do you want to create a world where there’s beautiful farms that are right in your backyard? Where there’s a viable, noble business for that farmer? Where the land is becoming more and more fertile and therefore the food is becoming more and more healthy…Do we want to support the people who are doing things right and contribute to that kind of world?” – Jesse Straight, owner of Whiffletree Farm
Learn more about Jesse’s story, one that is so much like our local sustainable farmers, in the video below.