4 Reasons Why You Should Understand Sustainable Farming + 3 Ways to Engage
My family and I have been learning and engaging with sustainable farms over the last few months and it has been an unexpected gift. We are learning the importance of slowing down, why the whole system matters and just enjoying digging in the dirt. It has been life giving as we are re-orienting our priorities as a family.
What do I mean by “sustainable farms”? Sustainable farms are farms that produce food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities and animal welfare. This way of farming enables the production of healthy food without compromising the future generations ability to do the same.
Today I want to share a few reasons why sustainable farms are important. It is important for us to understand the need for sustainable farming so that we can impact the health of our families and generations to come. I also want to give you 3 simple ways you can start this journey. Enjoy!
1. Importance of Clean food
I have written more about clean food here and how to get back to eating real food here. The truth is that we do NOT live in the same world that our parents did. There have been more toxins and fake food introduced over the last 30 years that completely demands that we be attentive to what we are eating. The myth of “a little sugar is okay” or “I ate that when I was little and am okay” is no longer valid in this day and age of toxins.
Sustainable farms produce real, clean food without pesticides and GMO’s. Chefs are beginning to play a responsible role in serving clean food verses convenient foods. The food we eat is truly medicine for our bodies and will help to impact our health. Without sustainable farms, we have no future for real food.
2. Future of our health
Sustainable farming techniques keep the nutrients in our food and the toxins away. It has been scientifically proven that food is truly medicine and this has been true for decades. Why do we need food? It gives the very nutrients our body needs for everyday life.
Food has the ability to decrease inflammation, balance hormones and blood sugars, detoxify the body, support neurological and digestive functions and alkalize the body…just to name a few things. Food is a powerful tool for our health. Sustainable farms produce food that is nutrient dense and is the future of our food as medicine.
3. Future of our Environment
There is no doubt that how we farm matters to the environment. Sustainable farms create healthy farm systems to produce food that works in harmony with the natural environment. They care about the soil and help the soil store water and nutrients that provides a stable base to support the food it grows. The soil is kept in balance by rotating crops and using nature to correct and replenish. Sustainable farmers utilize the whole system of the land to replenish and renew. They work off of the idea that “as you take from the land, you also give back”.
The factory farms disregard this need for balance and health. Land is used rather than cultivated and cared for. Immediate demands are sought to be yielded at the cost of depleting the environment in which it grows. Profit for the least quality is what drives the seed. Crops are not rotated and the methods of “feeding” the soil actually creates larger and long term problems.
4. Need to Slow down
When you begin to see and understand sustainable farms, you begin to see the benefit beyond food and environment. Food is meant to slow us down and promote community. To cultivate food sustainably requires patience and care that requires attention.
Our way of life has drastically shifted at a fast pace, with the introduction of technology. Although technology has its place, it feeds the idea that we must move fast and avoid delayed gratification. When you connect with the dirt and understanding how your food is grown, you connect with the cycle of life. It reminds you that the seasons of life matter and that there are good reasons for walking through them.
With my clients, we talk often about slowing down and it is one of the most healing things for them as they seek to make shifts in their everyday life. When we see the process of farming real food, we will appreciate our food, cook food and get back to prioritizing community as a whole. Slowing down to observe and be aware is a need for every soul. Sustainable farms embody this from the seed to the serving table.
So what can we do or how can we engage if we are not a farmer or chef? Here are 3 ways to step towards engaging with sustainable farms near you.
1. Watch Sustainable Farm Documentary
Check out this documentary. We watched this as a family and began the discussion about how and where to engage with supporting farms. It introduces you to sustainable farming and shows you why it matters.
2. Buy Locally
Look up your sustainable farms near you and find out which grocery stores carry their products. Use your dollars to say yes to a healthy future when you purchase food from sustainable farms.
In Austin, Springdale Farm, Boggy Creek Farm, Johnson’s Backyard and Green Gate Farm are just a few who supply our city and restaurants. Look for farmers markets and farm stand days in or near your place of residence. Natural Grocer and Whole Foods carry local food from sustainable farms that you can purchase as needed. Sign up for a CSA box of veggies to be delivered to your work or doorstep!
3. Get to know your Farmer
As you begin to purchase food from farms near you, then you want to get to know the farmer! They are passionate activists that will inspire you. Listen to their stories (they all have wonderful stories to tell!) and appreciate who is caring for your healthy food.
Volunteer with your farmer at Springdale Farm and see first hand how things run. Learn from them and support their continued efforts to create a healthy future for you and your family. Volunteer for Green Gate Farms here. You can google your local sustainable farms in your area and find contact information or get information from the farmer at the farmer’s markets.
Other places in Austin can help further your education and involvement with sustainable farms. Click on title to learn more.