When we talk about sustainability, we're referring to a system that is ecologically sound, socially responsible and economically viable -- a system that nurtures rather than depletes. Sustainable agriculture must manage to grow a profitable amount of food in a way that supports local businesses and consumers' health without burning up natural resources faster than they can be replaced. Here's how it breaks down:
- Ecological sustainability. Organic fertilizers, pesticides and growing methods nourish the local ecosystem so it can continue to sustain many future generations of crops without depending on chemicals.
- Social responsibility. Sustainable agriculture using healthy, natural growing methods nurtures the good health of consumers, as opposed to genetically-altered foods that pose unknown long-term consequences for humans who eat them. It also makes use of natural, non-toxic pest control that won;t threaten people and pets.
- Economic viability. American farmers average less than 20 cents' income for every dollar's worth of food they produce, with the remainder feeding all the middlemen in the national distribution and retail system. 100 percent of locally grown and purchased food goes back to the farmers and the community they live in, strengthening local economies.