Sustainable agriculture pertains to natural resource and land use, soil and energy conservation, preservation of water systems, and mutual support between consumers and Agricultural communities. It is a three legged stool of economics, ecology, and society; attempting to find a balance to all three. It is about bringing people closer to where their food comes from, as well as including more people in agriculture; there by generating a positive and healthy output for labor into a more bio-intensive agriculture. It is about farms that operate with little outside resource inputs, and balancing labor inputs with value added products to reach a scale of production that is economically viable on its own. Where production decisions/behaviors of small landowners, as well as cosumers, are made free from the false incentives of Agricultural Policy designed to drive family farms out of business…and the resulting economic and social consequences responsible for many nearly all of the worst problems we face as a society (Pollution, Climate instability, erosion, eating habits and lifesyles that cause obesity, etc.)
Our vision for sustainable agriculture leads to the regeneration of the local ecology and the relationship between society and the land. Doing so from the ground up! We must let food be our medicine, and the forest be our food.
*Building healthy soil rich in organic matter and caring for the network of soil microbes upon which the whole ecosystem relies by locally sourcing (mostly on site) and spreading thick layers of compost and mulch well before any crops have been planted, tilling and otherwise disturbing soil only for the purposes of engineering the long term soil profile (elliminating compaction beyond the topsoil), crop rotation and use of Legumes and green manures in between crops, and innoculation of transplants with micorrhizae. Using biodynamic methods and the responsible use of compost/animal manures as opposed to artificial fertilizers to do so.
*Promoting life and not death by avoiding the use of man made pesticides, and limiting the use of natural pesticides to the critical stages of plant growth.
*Working tirelessly to establish a local economy for all of our needs and collaborate with other farms to create a model that is abundant in shelf stable and home made condiments that will make the global food system obsolete. (Farmers markets, Expansion of food sovereignty thus allowing local production of acidified food, etc.)
*Managing human health and solving health problems with herbal medicine and by bringing balance to the microbiome within our digestive system via fermented and gut healthy foods, as well as holistic lifesytle choices.
*Involving our friends, customers, and families, and other farmers in eachothers work in projects, thus sharing resources tangible and non (Physical resources, human capital, etc.) What needs to be created is an interdependence of farms with local communities and sourcing of inputs locally…Including the ideas, support, and labor from the community. This in combination with returns to many forms of capital that make economies truly thrive! Doing so by diversifying crops and income streams, creating resilience in the farm’s ecosystem which supports local economies.
*Creating diverse and multifunctional ecosystems that provide services to humans, and the flora and fauna directly via food, fuel and fiber; and indirectly by providing environnmental stability locally (carbon and water storage) and on a grander scale.
*Using Agro-ecology (healthy interaction between agriculture and the local ecosystem) and systems thinking, Keyline Design (Slowing, spreading and retaing the water which is collected and otherwise runs off a site), Biomimicry of native ecology using Guilds and Layering of plantings, as well as Permaculture (regenerative interdependence between people and agriculture)concepts in the design and long term development of Farm.
*Incorporating perennial and native species both as crops and for the purposes listed above.
Not only do these methods prevent the problems created by the industrial/Gobal economy, but directly addresses and solves them. Over time, less inputs will be needed to sustain the system as it matures.
Plant, animal, fuel, and fiber products can be produced simultaneously in perennial poly-cultures, and in conjunction with community supported agriculture, where the people of the community share in the economic or labor inputs, as well as the products (tangible & intangible). Just look at the forest and you will see this is possible, as many communities of organisms (including humans) played a role in its development and share its returns.
Truly Sustainable agriculture should be adaptable and dynamic…resillient in the face of change. It is a path that involves application of the core principles of sustainability to an ailing agricultural system to continually improve the land for the future; with a focus on soil health, water quality, and vibrant rural culture! In some cases methods and ideas are progressive and in others they are regenerative (both to the land and to old traditions). It is also a path with no clear answers for every situation. There will be wicked multi-faceted problems in which many options, with many trade-offs will be presented as solutions. And its our job as Agriculturalists, as a society, and as stewards of the land to make decisions that create not only a balance between social, economic, and environmental concerns now, but to improve the situation future generations have to work with.