SOLAR PRODUCTION121.0MWh OF CLEAN ENERGY
EQUIVALENT TO 93.7 TONS OF CARBON OFFSET
EQUIVALENT TO $12,942 DOLLARS SAVED
EQUIVALENT TO 203,201 MILES NOT DRIVEN
Sustainable farming is rapidly increasing, and now accounts for roughly half of row-crop acreage in the United States, according to SUSTAIN – a joint program between the food industry coalition United Suppliers and the Environmental Defense Fund. Sustainable farming. It sounds good – something we’d all like to get on board with, right? But what is it? And what does it really mean for you and the world around you?
According to Sustainable Table, “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.”
Sustainable farming is defined as being economically viable, environmentally sound and socially beneficial, working for the farmer, the land and the community. As the name indicates, it’s grounded in the idea of stewardship of resources, protecting and preserving them for future generations.
There are four key benefits of sustainable farming:
1. Environmental preservation: Raising crops and animals without chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified seeds, as well as utilizing farming practices that protect soil, water and other natural resources.
2. Public health protection: Avoiding pesticides and other chemicals reduces exposure of people, animals and the environment to toxins. Sustainable farming also means the careful management of livestock waste, which often includes toxins, as well as pathogens.
3. Sustaining communities: Sustainable farming is economically self-sustaining, providing a living wage and safe working conditions for farmers, farm workers and others employed in the production, harvesting and processing of food, as well as supporting local and regional economies.
4. Animal welfare: In sustainable farming, animals are treated with care and respect – animals are able to move freely, behave according to their instincts and consume a natural diet. As a result, they’re under less stress and so require fewer antibiotics and other medications.
Industrial farming focuses on large-scale production and cost-efficiency, often at the expense of the environment, farm workers, livestock and even the nutritional value of the food it produces. It makes wide use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and antibiotics, and can result in deplorable conditions for livestock.
Environmental impact extends well beyond the release of toxins and pathogens into the environment, however. We typically think of climate change as the result of burning fossil fuels – and that certainly plays a role. But according to the Center for Food Safety, one-third of the carbon in the atmosphere today used to be in the soil – and industrial agriculture is largely to blame. Heavy use of chemicals, excessive soil tilling and use of heavy machinery disturbs the organic matter in the soil and releases carbon into the air. Scientists estimate that cultivated soil has lost between 50 and 70 percent of its carbon.
What’s powering the sustainable farming movement? In a word – you. As consumers increasingly want to know where their food is coming from and how it’s affecting the environment, a growing number of food companies, including General Mills, Unilever, Campbell Soup, Smithfield Foods and Kellogg Company are urging farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices. It’s not only better for the environment, but it also gives their products an edge in the fiercely competitive food industry.
The impact is enormous. The 15 major food companies committed to sustainable farming represent about 30 percent of the United States food and beverage market, and interest continues to build.
You can help power the growth of sustainable farming by continuing to ask where your food comes from and how it’s grown and by directing your food dollars to local farms, farmers and companies that support sustainable farming.
You Might Also Like:
Like what you’ve just read? Sign up for regular updates from Macy’s Green Living, delivered right to your inbox!
Saturday, June 11 is a great day to let the sun shine down – it’s National Get Outdoors Day!VIEW ARTICLE
Since winter weather is here to stay for the next couple of weeks (hopefully!) for our more seasonal regions, we thought it’d be a great time to discuss something a bit taboo in the world of commuting – bicycling in the winter.VIEW ARTICLE
When you’re celebrating this Independence Day, remember to eat local if you can. Your country, your community, your guests and your stomach will thank you for it!VIEW ARTICLE
Bike to Work Day was May 15. Did you participate? And did you know more than half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of its workplace.VIEW ARTICLE
We all battle the dreaded cold and flu season. Aside from over-the-counter remedies, there are a lot of natural ways to both effectively boost your immune system and fight off illness.VIEW ARTICLE
At the start of every new year, most of us set out to make resolutions, particularly in areas of our lives that could use improvement. Why not have resolutions for the environment too?VIEW ARTICLE
Let’s be honest. Coffee can be a lifesaver. But options ranging from your coffee container choice to the origin of the beans have an impact on the environment.VIEW ARTICLE
Think global, act local. Find out how buying local and organic is great for your health and the environment.VIEW ARTICLE
Bad News: Stress can also make you gain weight. Good News: You can easily combat stress and weight gain simultaneously.VIEW ARTICLE