Okay, so all this talk about green and sustainability... leads to wait- what is sustainable agriculture again? So, this will provide answers and sources I found to those answers :) Happy Reading !
What is Sustainable agriculture?
From http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/concept.htm"Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals--environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.
Basically it looks at the health of people, health of the enviroment, health of economic standpoint-- that people are not going completely broke and aren't socially a lower class due to sustainable agriculture.
It also looks at things both big and small- from the single farmer to the nation to the world. It also looks at the impact actions have on the environment- in various ways- in the air, in the water, in the soil quality, in plant quality and what is produced. Also, the impact on wildlife, and energy is also taken into account.
Its goal is an healthy earth.
What are the Considerations to Sustainable agriculture?
- Environment, Environment, Environment. If it evolved there, IT SHOULD BE THERE! *ahem*
- Climate -- this tells you what is and isn't sustainable in terms of water needs,& temperature. A plant that gets to cold/to hot, or not enough rain/ too much rain dies. That's not very sustainable !
-soil type -- plants are picky about their soil, as much as humans are about their food.
- Diversify! Different is good. It protects, it invites more natural processes, it can do all sorts of neat things. And, if one crop fails, another may do better, so it isn't instant disaster.
-Wildstock and Crops together...it provides another source of food, fertilizer, will eat failed crops, can keep away other wildlife, and protect the farmer against complete failure of the farm.
inputs-- what a person puts in work wise and chemical wise into the soil.
Another quote"Growers frequently ask if synthetic chemicals are appropriate in a sustainable farming system. Sustainable approaches are those that are the least toxic and least energy
intensive, and yet maintain productivity and profitability. Preventive strategies and
other alternatives should be employed before using chemical inputs from any source.
However, there may be situations where the use of synthetic chemicals would be more
"sustainable" than a strictly nonchemical approach or an approach using toxic
"organic" chemicals. For example, one grape grower switched from tillage to a
few applications of a broad spectrum contact herbicide in the vine row. This approach may
use less energy and may compact the soil less than numerous pa**** with a cultivator or
This article also takes into account farmer's lifestyle choices... sustainability may not work if one wants to make lots of money, it may not work for someone who wants more free time.
There are also animal production practices which can include the following: animal health, feed, breeding, type, area animal is confined to, the above mentioned sustainability characteristics, and more.
Also Values, government policy, land use, and other things can effect what is sustainable.
The institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Fact sheet.
American based: highlights government agencies, the need for education.
A Quote- "6) National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture(http://www.sustainableagriculture.net)food and agricultural systems and rural communities that are healthy,“. . .environmentally sound, profitable, humane and justa) More independent farmers and ranchers producing good food, making agood living and protecting the environment;b) Thriving communities connected through sustainable food production,processing and distribution systems based on fair and open markets;c) Dignified livelihoods and living wages for all workers in the farm and foodsector;d) A safe, secure food supply;e) Access for everyone in our society to nutritious, healthful and affordablefood;f) Farming and ranching practices that produce quality food and otherproducts, while preserving open space, abundant wildlife, and other formsof biodiversity."
For longer in-depth reading go here: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/terms/srb9902.shtml
. Even more information that is free.
So sustainable argiculture is a very complicated thing! It requires knowledge about climate, land use, plant preferences, human preferences, wildlife and plant interaction and probably a little bit of luck. They've got so much on this...so much going into and so much education required. No wonder it can't just happen... its a major process analysing thing...especially if natural habitat has been destroyed.
Next Post- tomorrow (most likely) Case Studies: where has it been successful, and where has it failed?