What is the Goal of Sustainable Agriculture? Who can play a role in Ensuring a Sustainable Agricultural System?

Sustainable Agriculture’s goal is to meet society’s food and textile needs, not only for the present but also for future generations, without compromising the ability to meet those needs, then and now.  Integrating three main objectives; a healthy environment, social and economic equity and economic profitability, is the ultimate aim of sustainable agriculture.

All people that are involved in the food system, growers, consumers, distributors, processors, retailers and waste managers, all have a role to play towards ensuring a sustainable agricultural system.

Practices commonly used by people working in sustainable food systems and agriculture:

Growers:

Can use methods to better soil health; through plant diversity, growing plants throughout the year, management in disturbing soil less and keeping the soil covered as long as possible, through either crops or crop residue.

Efficient water usage; can be reached, through farm water retention, restoring habitat, increasing soil moisture and organic matter, protecting open spaces, etc.  Also, the Effective and more efficient use of irrigation systems, increasing water-pump efficiency and powering all with renewable energy technology, will help towards water conservation.

Reduce Pollution Levels; through minimizing excessive soil nitrogen, by applying only the proper amounts of fertilizer and by implementing a nutrient management plan.

Consumers and retailers:

“Values-based” foods; are grown with methods promoting the well-being of farm workers.

Farm worker well-being; is achieved through farming methods that will strengthen the local economy and are environmentally friendly.

Environmentally friendly; methods will promote the use of cleaner agricultural methods, the better use of resources and the maintaining of the natural environment.

However, Sustainable Agriculture, are more than methods and practices, it also includes research and negotiation, and communities working together to solve complex problems to ensure a better future for their environment.

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