Sustainable agricultural models are being used more and more in communities big and small across the country to encourage small farms and producers and to provide the people in these communities with healthier options when it comes to the produce they consume. When people buy local produce, not only they support local economies, but they also foster vibrant communities.
However, many consumers still choose to do all their shopping at the supermarkets and grocery stores because of the convenience that these stores offer. This is not only detrimental to their health because the produce found in these stores is of lower quality than that of the locally grown produce, but it is also negatively affecting the local economy as sustainable agriculture models are not receiving enough support to function properly.
Being a farmer is hard work, so the people brave and passionate enough to do it should receive all the support that they can from their communities. Local farmers are still a dying breed in the U.S. despite many efforts made by initiatives such as the farm to knife or farm to table movements to train and help new farmers get started.
Why? Because it involves a lot of hard work and insecurities. However, having sustainable agriculture in our communities is vital to ensure that we are supplied with enough fresh produce to lead a healthy life.
Many people still do not realize how important it is for long-term sustainability to encourage local farms and producers, but many environmentalist organizations are warning that integrated farming systems and sustainable agricultural projects are the only way to ensure a sufficient supply of high-quality food for our communities.
How Does Sustainable Agriculture Work?
Sustainable agricultural models rely on local growers and farmers and the natural capabilities of the area to create a constant supply of fresh produce for the areas surrounding these farms.
Sustainable agriculture enables farmers to make decisions based on the opportunities and threats that they identify and to supply consumers with produce according to the possibilities that they have. Small farms and businesses rely heavily on local consumers in order to be able to function efficiently. The focus of sustainable, organic agricultural models is to offer fresh produce and this produce has to be sold in the area for it to be harvested at the right time and keep its nutritional value by the time it is consumed.
Commercial ties in the community are essential for small farms to survive as most of their produce is meant for local sale and supplying local businesses such as restaurants or catering companies is a vital part of the sales that farms conduct. Sustainable agricultural projects are based on satisfying the local demand for products that farms produce and on direct supply to consumers to reduce costs.
They usually cut out a middleman such as grocery stores and create a local market for consumers, where they can buy local produce and support these projects whenever they shop locally.
Why Is Local Produce Better?
One of the main selling points that locally grown products have is their freshness. If the produce is grown in the area, it will take a very small amount of time to harvest it and get it in the customer’s grocery bag. Another key aspect of sustainable agricultural projects is that farms are operating using these models usually grow local produce that is also organic.
This means that this produce is not only fresher, it’s also higher in nutrients and harvested at the right time for consumption, so it is healthier than the produce found in supermarkets or grocery stores. Besides the obvious health benefits of buying organic produce, doing so will also help support the growers and local businesses and farms that bring that produce to your table.
How Can We Support Sustainable Agriculture?
Sustainable agriculture models rely on the support of the communities that they are established in because of the partnerships and commercial relationships that farmers need to create with customers in their communities to set up their supply networks.
There are many ways in which we can contribute to supporting sustainable agriculture in our respective areas and doing so will lead to improving our own lifestyles and health. If you want to show your appreciation for sustainable agriculture and want to support local farmers and growers, there are a few simple ways in which you can do both.
Buy Local Produce
The best and most direct way to support sustainable agriculture in your area is to buy local produce as much as possible and to look for local farmers and producers that can supply you with all of the basic food items you need. This doesn’t just mean fruits and vegetables look for local producers of dairy products and local free-range meat suppliers that you can shop from for everything from eggs and milk to meat products.
Not only will these foods contain less artificial additives, but you will also know that they come from animals that have been raised in a free-range environment and have been fed, treated and cared for adequately. Local produce is fresh, healthier, and contains more nutrients than its supermarket counterparts, so it’s better for you to begin with.
Show Your Support for Initiatives that Promote Sustainable Agriculture
A very important thing you can do to show your support for sustainable agriculture is to encourage initiatives that are promoting it in various forms in your community. If and when you shop for imported foods, look for Fair Trade or Organic labels to ensure that safe agricultural practices have been applied when growing those foods.
Vote to support sustainable agriculture projects when you can, these projects encourage and protect local agriculture growth and small farms in rural areas. Encourage community projects that promote sustainable agricultural models and that educate people on the importance of utilizing these models. Projects such as school gardens or community gardens inform people about how sustainable agriculture works and what its benefits are and promote a healthier lifestyle.
Try to be as active as you can in your community and show your support for sustainable agriculture when you have the ability to do so: this can encourage your neighbors and friends to do the same.