Organic agriculture definately needs to be a part of sustainable agriculture, but with the above definition
one doesn't have to be organic to be sustainable and one doesn't have to be sustainable just because you're
organic. Most organic farms are doing a very good job on sustainability.
I think the biggest element that is essential to sustainable agriculture that is not being met by conventional
agriculture is the long term profitibility and quality of life issues. This is fueling the drive to ever larger farms that
require chemicals to replace labor. The farms aren't making enough money to support families adequately.
They aren't making enough money to encourage future generations to farm. They aren't making enough money
to take the steps necessary to protect the environment. And they aren't making enough money to take the steps to rebuild strong rural communities.
I think this thing is a vicious circle. We need more sustainable farms. Ones that support families, and in turn
support the environment and rural communities.
I think if we are going to argue about anything, we need to argue about how to bring more family supporting farmers back to the land. That is my reason for being involved in sustainable agriculture. I see examples every
day of why the capital intensive industrial model isn't working for farmers. Grain prices this fall are going to
take its toll on a lot more farms and rural communities.
We need more information passed along on low input, low capital systems that keep the economic power on the
farm where it belongs.
Sustainable agriculture, by defintion, should be different for every region and every farm. However it should
include some common ideas. Low off farm inputs(replaced with management) and value added enterprises(livestock, organic, vegetables, direct marketing, etc) are essential to sustainability.
The best test of sustainability is whether the farm will be there relatively the same 50-100 years.
How about some discussion on the traits of a sustainable farm?
Gunthorp's Pasture-ized Pork
LaGrange, Indiana (a stones throw from Ohio & Michigan)
Visit our farm at www.grassfarmer.com
> How does organic differ from sustainable agriculture?
> Susan Snow
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