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The word “sustainability” gets thrown around a lot lately, especially with conversations about global warming and the future of the planet. Whether you’ve been following these talks closely or not isn’t really the point (not of this blog, anyway!). But, it’s important to know at least a little bit about sustainable farming, and how it not only impacts the future of the planet but how it impacts you, personally.
It’s no secret that having a farming or agricultural business is hard work. Small farmers and growers are competing with less-sustainable companies on a daily basis. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why supporting these smaller, local farmers is so important.
Sustainability Means Less Pollution
When industrial farmers plant their crops, they use a variety of fertilizers that are meant to speed up the growth and production, so they can harvest their product faster. Unfortunately, those fertilizers, laden with chemicals, can get into runoff water that’s harmful to the environment.
Additionally, the practices that are done by industrial farming produce a lot of excess waste and pollution, including methane. Methane gas is a type of greenhouse gas that harms the atmosphere. Large animal farms are the biggest problems when it comes to releasing methane.
Sustainable farmers tend to use natural fertilizers and crop rotation to keep the land healthy. Sustainable farmers also tend to have fewer animals, and they offset the gases given off by doing things like recycling and reclaiming water.
It Supports Better Use of Land
Industrial farming tends to focus on monoculture, which is the process of planting large fields with a single crop. Most experienced farmers know that’s a bad idea since it makes those plants vulnerable to diseases. Frankly, it doesn’t take much for an entire crop to be wiped out by disease, which can impact the food supply and even cause prices to soar on that particular crop.
Sustainable farmers plant several different types of crops on one plot of land. This process frees up a lot of land for preservation and also helps the plants to stay strong and healthy, so there will be a greater yield. That means better crops in stores, as well as cheaper prices.
How Can You Support Sustainability?
Supporting sustainable farming starts with knowing where your food comes from. Buy local, whenever possible. Go to your town’s farmer’s market for produce instead of a mega-store. Getting fruits, vegetables, dairy, and even meat from the store instead of locally often means a truck had to travel across the country to get the food there. That, too, contributes to air pollution and the production of greenhouse gases.
Even the coffee you drink should be sustainable. Thankfully, there are tools and resources now that make it easy to trace where your food and drinks are coming from, including a coffee farming sustainability app that lets you trace where your beans came from.
So, make an effort to put more sustainable practices into your daily life. By being conscious of the products you choose to by, you’re creating a better future and a healthier planet for the next generation, and beyond.