What Does Sustainable Farming Really Mean?
The agricultural industry needs a revolution. This sector is one of the most important in all of the world. It provides life-sustaining food for populations, and it contributes significantly to the global economy.
Without the agricultural industry, many people wouldn’t be able to source their daily nutrient intake. But farming currently isn’t the most sustainable industry — not even close. Each day, large-scale farms put out carbon emissions and overuse one of the most precious resources — water. Additionally, they’re still using fertilizers and pesticides that contaminate the ground, water, and air.
If the industry continues to operate without the environment in mind, it won’t feed the growing population, which will reach 10 billion by the year 2050. One of the best ways to combat the ever-increasing problem of the agricultural industry is to enforce sustainable farming methods.
So What Is Sustainable Farming?
You’ve likely heard of sustainable farming — a more environmentally friendly way of farming. Sustainable farming goes beyond environmental friendliness, though. So what does sustainable farming really mean?
As people walk through the supermarket to purchase groceries, they’re making decisions based on convenience, taste, price, and what their menu holds for the week. Even those who are more planet-friendly often take the easy way out when it comes to purchasing food. Sustainability has become a buzzword, and it has lost its true meaning over the years.
Sustainable agriculture is a way to farm that seeks to sustain the economy, society, and environment. It promotes more profitable methods for farmers and does less harm to the environment while providing food and other opportunities for communities.
This farming method encompasses new technologies and brings back practices from the past that do less harm to the environment. Sustainable practices expand the natural resources that Earth has to offer, and it ensures the generations to come will have the same, if not better, opportunities that people have now.
Why Does It Matter?
Sustainable farming matters significantly to keep this world going. The practices are critical for both now and the future. The Earth needs to be in good health to provide for future generations. Currently, the Earth’s health isn’t in the best shape, so the industry needs to invest in an overall healthy and sustainable food system.
First of all, sustainable farming techniques reduce pollution and limit the adverse effects of natural resources. Overall, the current infrastructure and farming activities contribute to about 10% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. With sustainable farming, that percentage would decrease, leading to a healthier Earth.
Additionally, sustainable farming would help boost the economy. This is especially true for countries affected by food insecurity. A sustainable approach to agriculture would promote local farmers and provide more job opportunities. In developing countries, this would bring a substantial positive impact on the economy and individual lives. With a boost in food security and jobs, impoverished communities could begin to thrive.
Without sustainable development in the agricultural industry, the Earth would soon be depleted of its natural resources. Sustainable agriculture promotes better usage of resources, increasing food security for all, and ensuring the industry can maintain communities worldwide. That’s why sustainable agriculture is essential.
How Can We Support Sustainable Farming?
Even those not directly involved in the agricultural industry can support sustainable farming. Here are a few ways you can support sustainable farming from your own home:
- Purchase local food when possible and eat at restaurants that serve local foods. This supports community agriculture and the local economy.
- Grow your food if you have the space for it. Those who have plots of land can grow a small vegetable garden or even raise a few chickens. You can even grow food indoors through a small hydroponics system.
- Compost your food scraps and give them to a local farmer to use as fertilizer.
- Buy seasonal produce. These are usually treated with fewer chemicals and likely don’t travel as far.
- Consume less red meat and dairy. You don’t have to eliminate them from your diet, but red meat and dairy farms often pollute waterways and use significant acreage to grow animal feed.
- Educate yourself as much as possible about sustainability. Knowledge is power, and you can use your knowledge to teach others about sustainable farming.
By supporting sustainable farming in your own home, you can empower others to do the same.
Understanding Sustainable Farming
If you want to bring about a healthy future, you need to start by changing your present and being part of the revolution in the agriculture industry. If not, you’re contributing to the problem. Farming needs to go back to the basics while embracing technological advancements that make it possible to sustain future generations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ginger Abbot is a learning, lifestyle and career writer with a personal passion for travel and culture. Her work has been featured on a variety of publications, including Today's Learner, Workplace Fairness, HerMoney and StudyUSA. She is also a regular columnist at HerCampus, Screencast-O-Matic, StudentJob and CollegeXpress. Read more of her work on Classrooms, where she acts as editor.
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