I want to to quickly define “Sustainable Farming”.
I love how perfectly and succinctly a definition can be found on sustainabletable.org.
“In simplest terms, sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare. This form of agriculture enables us to produce healthful food without compromising future generation’s’ ability to do the same.”
Sustainable farming isn’t just the broad idea of “going green” or becoming a hippie for the sake of being different, or pampering a fad. Sustainable farming is protection…
Protection for the environment is purposefully NOT using practices that harm, erode, or degrade the soil, water, or other precious resources… It IS using crop rotation, animal rotation, and biodiversity which knead and feed our ecological umbilical rather than severing it.
Protection of animal welfare ensures that animals are treated with respect for what they are and what they were created to be and to do – allowing them freedom to move, mow, roll, jump, run, hop, wallow, or forage… Protecting animal welfare means promoting their natural diet and avoiding stress and illness associated with and common in confinement and mono-speciation.
Protecting public health and human communities go hand in hand. Food production should NEVER come at the expense of human health, and good food should satisfy the body’s nutritional requirements. Grassfed, pastured, sustainably raised food out-shines its industrialized counterparts almost immeasurably. Meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals are the richest known source of a good fat known as CLA (conjugated linoleic acid.) CLA may be one of the most potent defenses against cancer of any we know. In lab tests, CLA has been shown to actually reduce tumor growth (source: eatwild.com)! These examples only cover meats and dairy. I talked a little about eggs last week… Sustainably raised produce takes nutrition to another level.
Alan Nation, in the foreword to Joel’s book Folks, This Ain’t Normal, says “…Learn enough…that you aren’t taken in by faux natural systems such as “free range” chickens from a confinement house with one tiny door open. Realize that a “USDA Certified Organic” label does not insure that a production method that mimics nature was used. … Try to buy as much of your animal protein and dairy products from a farmer whose farm you occasionally visit…[as you can.]”
Know that you know WHO your farmer is and HOW they are raising the things you eat!
Now, more than ever, is the time to rise and take a stand in our food system and our agricultural system. It’s time to provide protection for ourselves and our posterity!
“The power is in the customer. And so if you want things to change on the landscape, if you want things to change regarding chemicals, pesticides, GMO – name your issue — if you want change, well, you’ve got to make a change.” – Joel Salatin