Taking a closer look at sustainable farming

Published 12:28 pm Saturday, December 24, 2011

What exactly is sustainable agriculture?

Imagine a time when you didn’t even have to think of such terms, because no other way of raising food existed. What a wonderful world.

Sustainable agriculture is a way of raising food that is healthy for consumers and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, provides a fair wage to the farmer, and supports and enhances rural communities. Characteristics of this type of agriculture include:

Email newsletter signup

•Conservation and preservation: What is taken out of the environment is put back in, so land and resources such as water, soil and air can be replenished and are available to future generations.

The waste from sustainable farming stays within the farm’s ecosystem and cannot cause buildup or pollution. In addition, sustainable agriculture seeks to minimize transportation costs and fossil fuel use, and is as locally-based as possible.

•Biodiversity: Farms raise different types of plants and animals, which are rotated around the fields to enrich the soil and help prevent disease and pest outbreaks. Chemical pesticides are used minimally and only when necessary; many sustainable farms do not use any form of chemicals.

•Animal welfare: Animals are treated humanely and with respect, and are well cared for. They are permitted to carry out their natural behaviors, such as grazing, rooting or pecking and are fed a natural diet appropriate for their species.

•Economically viable: Farmers are paid a fair wage and are not dependent on subsidies from the government. Sustainable farmers help strengthen rural communities.

•Socially just: Workers are treated fairly and paid competitive wages and benefits. They work in a safe environment and are offered proper living conditions and food.

It feels good when you buy your food at a farmers market, because you know that what you are eating was raised sustainably. You are doing your part to make the world a better place and supporting the environment. During the winter, some of our vendors still have sustainably raised meat available.

For pasture raised beef, chickens, lamb and eggs contact Jeff Jaeger at Otter Creek Ranch 507-325-9978. Jeff will deliver your order. Tessa Davis of Davis Farms has free range chickens and eggs available. Contact her by email at Davisfarms11@yahoo.com. Tessa also has CSA options available.