Why Is Sustainability Important? | Skinny Decaf Latte

Why Is Sustainability Important?

By on November 9, 2017

Why is sustainability important? Sustainable agriculture used to be an abstract concept; now it’s a buzzword and gaining importance. I recently made a trip to Polyface Farms, located in Swoope, Virginia after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. This book got me interested in learning more about sustainable agriculture and got me thinking about the food I eat differently.

It took my family about three hours to get to Polyface Farms, tucked behind a distant path along the Shenandoah Valley. Fall is such a beautiful time to visit a farm like this, surrounded with colorful leaves and invigorating breeze. It was refreshing to visit a farm like this, where it was clear that the animals were healthy and not harmed. I spent half a day on the farm and noticed that each aspect of the farm had a purpose and it was all connected.

Polyface farmer, Joel Salatin raises chickens, beef, turkeys, eggs, rabbits, pigs, tomatoes, sweet corn, collards, lettuce, berries, and more on one hundred acres of pasture. “‘Grass,’ so understood, is the foundation of the intricate food chain Salatin has assembled at Polyface, where a half a dozen different animal species are raised together in an intensive rotational dance on the theme of symbiosis. Salatin is the choreographer and the grasses are his verdurous stage; the dance has made Polyface one of the most productive and influential alternative farms in America.”

Source: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan  

Visiting Polyface Farms. Visiting Polyface Farms.

What is Sustainable Agriculture? 

Sustainable agriculture is basically the production of food, plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health and animal well-being. This form of agriculture enables us to produce healthy food without compromising future generations.

“Sustainable farms produce crops and raise animals without relying on toxic chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified seeds, or practices that degrade soil, water, or other natural resources. By growing a variety of plants and using techniques such as crop rotation, conservation tillage, and pasture-based livestock husbandry, sustainable farms protect biodiversity and foster the development and maintenance of healthy ecosystems.”

Source: Sustainable Table

Why is Sustainability Important?

I encourage you to read Omnivore’s Dilemma and recent articles about sustainable agriculture. Sustainable goes beyond organic, what if your industrial organic meal could be drenched in as much fossil fuel as its conventional counterpart? Is that possible? Yes.

“Asparagus traveling in a 747 from Argentina; blackberries trucked up from Mexico; a salad chilled to thirty-six degrees from the moment it was picked in Arizona to the moment I walk it out the doors of my Whole Foods. The food industry burns nearly a fifth of all the petroleum consumed in the United States (about as much as automobiles do). Today it takes between seven and ten calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver one calorie of food energy to the American plate.”

Source: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan  

“More people are interested in learning where their food comes from,” says Laura Stewart, education director for CFSA.

“We’re seeing more farmers markets, new restaurants sourcing from local farms, and more people choosing sustainable farming as their career in order to meet that demand,” Stewart says. “The conference is an opportunity for all of these folks to come together and collaborate.”

Source:  Greenville Online

A gorgeous fall day on Polyface Farms. A gorgeous fall day on Polyface Farms.

I am a huge fan of CSAs (community supported agriculture). Anytime I can buy an ingredient local, I make every effort to do it and I encourage you to do the same. Learn about the local farms that are in your community and enjoy what is grown locally when it’s possible for you.

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