problems for sustainable farmers

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Just about every town in America has a farmers’ market, so maybe you’ve been to one and can appreciate their value. But what many of us do not realize is just what our local farmers go through to bring healthy food to our tables. Sustainable farms, or sustainable agriculture, do not rely on government subsidies, monoculture, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and mechanization to sustain their crops and animals. Sustainable farmers utilize farming techniques such as low-input, organic, bio-dynamic and free-range, just to name a few.

These farmers are focused on natural farming practices which embrace the earth’s natural ecological processes by:

  • Minimizing the use of tilling and water usage.
  • Planting various different crops each year and allowing livestock to graze, which promotes soil that is naturally healthy.
  • Nurturing natural organisms which help to control any crop-destroying pests without the use of harmful pesticides.

You should know that shopping from local farmers puts healthy food on the table minus growth-producing hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides. It also puts money into your local economy and keeps our American farms going strong.

What is the problem?

Over the years, as food has become more industrialized and commercialized, many family farms find that they struggle to compete with big corporations. Many Americans are focused on saving money in grocery stores and not always on what’s in their carts. Not all Americans, but many. Times are hard, so saving money is typically a focus. However, times are also hard for our farmers.

They’re investing more into their farms than what they make in returns. Another problem for many farmers is that they’re doing everything on their own, including their own marketing, product design, customer relations and distribution.

A Helping Hand for Sustainable Farmers

Recently, in Missouri, a new HSUS Agriculture Council was formed, which consists of Missouri local farmers, animal welfare advocates and environmentalists. Everyone came together to come up with a sustainable plan of action and during a press conference dated January 25, 2014, it was reported that the HSUS Missouri Agriculture Council is going to work towards connecting farmers who actively produce sustainable livestock using higher animal welfare practices with consumers who seek to purchase products made with regard to the welfare of animals.

This spring at Oxford College in Atlanta, Georgia, Oxford will welcome its first organic farm thanks to the donation of 11-plus acres at 406 Emery Street, which was donated to Oxford College in 2011. The concept of the farm is to provide education and training to students, using sustainable farming techniques firsthand on the college’s new farmland.

Oxford College searched nationwide for only the best to lead the reigns of its new organic farm and chose Daniel Parson, a 15-year organic farming veteran and Georgia Organics Land Steward of the Year Award winner. The farms first crops for the Atlanta area include sweet potatoes, peppers and squash.

What would help the sustainable farmer to succeed?

Seeking outside assistance with marketing could help farmers, as well as more advertising and raising awareness. Educating communities about the importance of buying locally is also important, including education about why they should really consider consuming healthier agriculture, as well the importance of boosting local economies by purchasing agriculture locally.

Another thing to take into consideration is that farmers should really know their costs of production when planning their crops ensuring that they’ll reap the rewards of success most-effectively. And we can’t forget the extreme importance of sustaining our local farmers by integrating them into our local grocery markets, restaurants, butcher shops, and etc.

It’s also important to remember that our local famers’ markets are not open 6-7 days per week, so if local farmers team up with local grocers to sell and promote their products, this could also help greatly. Seeking out the assistance of local non-profits may also prove to be beneficial. If more local markets, restaurants and distributors were open to promoting local food, industrialized food may have some fierce healthy competition on their hands.

Because even though many Americans are out to save a buck, there are also many who enjoy purchasing organic foods, and who have become more health-conscious about purchasing foods without pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Perhaps, if the food is easier to access, then maybe there would be no problem after all…

randy bowden –  t | g+ | in | f

(image:123RF)

The post “problems for sustainable farmers” appeared first on bowden2bowden blog.

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6 thoughts on “problems for sustainable farmers

  1. Pingback: problems for sustainable farmers | Transformations Life Productions

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