Sustainable agriculture is a set of practices in agriculture that take into account the wellbeing of the environment and the eco-systems that are used to produce foods. This practice is becoming more used than ever before and its benefits are widely known.
However, it’s still a new practice for many and most agricultural production is done in the traditional way that’s much more damaging to the environment especially in the long run. Here are therefore a few facts about it, to be taken into account.
In the western world there’s not that many people working in the field of agriculture since its mostly automatized and depends on the machinery and technology used by the farmers. Even smaller number of farmers work in a sustainable and an eco-friendly way. This isn’t the case in other parts of the world.
As much as 40 percent of population of the world works in agriculture or fields directly related to it. Therefore, the changes in agriculture and the practices used by the farmers can have a great impact on a large number of people across many different communities.
It’s often thought that sustainable agriculture is simply about not using the industrial capabilities to work in agricultural but it’s more than that. There are three main principles of sustainable agriculture and they are all equally important. These are: environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.
All of these principles work in unison with one another all of them should be strived for with the same determination. The social and political parts of the equation are far too often overlooked and the environmental ones can’t really be achieved without them.
As we said, sustainable farming has lofty societal and political goals just as much as it has goals related to the environment. The main problems it tackles however, are the ones that are caused by the industrial approach to agriculture by training to mitigate or minimize them. These are: erosion, deforestation, depleted and contaminated soil and water resources, loss of biodiversity, labor abuses, and the decline of family farms.
This isn’t to say that sustainable agriculture doesn’t leave its mark on the environment, all the human activity does, but it does so in a less intrusive and in a less damaging manner.
There’s one resource needed to run a farm that’s too often overlooked and too often taken for granted and that’s the labor that goes into it. With this type of farming, this resource is being used more and with more of an emphasis on human labor. It’s safe to say that running sustainable farm requires as much as two and half time more labor than it’s needed for a traditional farm of the same size.
This doesn’t mean that sustainable farms aren’t economical to use and run, since the yields they produce should be taken into account as well. They yield as much as ten times more profits.
The quality of the soil is one of the biggest concerns for a sustainable farm. That’s because it’s a resource that a farm can’t work without and that’s in limited supply. It’s also a resource that’s rather difficult to improve on when its damaged by constant use. Therefore, procedures and activities made to improve the soil are always on the minds of sustainable farms and that’s where a lot of their resources are going.
This is done by using methods such as using cover crops, compost/manures, avoiding traffic on wet soils, and maintaining soil cover with plants/mulches.
The popularity of these farms and their presence in the public mind is also growing. That’s because the general public is now more aware of the importance of environmental issues as well as of the importance of healthy food supply.
Organic food accounts for nearly 4% of all food products sold in the U.S This doesn’t sound like much at first, but that’s accomplished by an annual growth rate of about 7 percent. This growth is not something that can be seen in any other industry with such consistency.
Sustainable agriculture is more than just a trend, it’s a way of the future when it comes to how farming is done and how it’s seen by the general public. This still doesn’t mean that it’s widely accepted and as much as 96 percent of all farming is still industrial in scope.
Sustainable approach to farming is about more than just the agricultural practices even though that’s its core. It’s also about societal and political issues that are closely related to food and therefore to equal distribution of resources. It’s now a practice that’s better understood and more widely accepted by both the farmers and the public.