What is sustainability? Is it important? Why? Give some examples of sustainable practices that could (some may already be) be implemented to improve the sustainability of agriculture? And, what are some ways that the consumer can contribute to the sustainability of agriculture?
Wow! Again - go look at some of my previous posts! Just kidding. I'll summarize my favorite ideas:
Reduce your carbon footprint - plant a garden! Never mind the fuel you save, using natural compost and green manure cover crops actually acts as a way to sequester carbon. Even a small patio container garden saves on overall emission contributions.
Buy locally. You can argue that it doesn't save money to buy from a local farmer. However it's proven that locally spent dollars generate more money, income, jobs, etc, within the community. Besides, I'd rather have a fresh juicy tomato or peach picked that morning than one stuck in a refrigerated box car for transportation. Also, farmers tend to have more interesting and flavorful heirloom varieties, which preserves our genetic seed diversity.
Did you know that THE big incentive for transporting food long distances is the ability of corporations to deduct the transportation costs on their taxes? So basically, our tax payer dollars are subsidizing the transportation of foods long distances, so that we get second rate foods at a "bargain" price...
Let your representatives know you support sustainable ag. The pending Farm Bill has the potential to turn our nation's ag production around, but not without your voice and support. Several recent university studies have proven that organically produced crops are equal or nearly equivalent in productivity and cost as their conventional counterparts. However, most large-scale farmers continue with their existing practices because of the financial incentives provided by the government to do it that way.