Sustainable farming is about understanding the ecosystem and finding non-destructive ways to support it. The term has been around since the early 1900s, taken from a book called Farmers of Forty Centuries by Franklin H King, who predicted that it would be vital to farming of the future. This type of farming is about meeting the needs of the population, without compromising our future on this planet.
What is the aim of sustainable farming?
- In order to reduce food poverty now and in the future, we must increase the production of food, without impacting on the environment.
- We must adapt to climate change in order to continue farming successfully, as season changes can be more drastic and unpredictable.
- To support environmental sustainability, we must concentrate on building and maintaining healthy soil with good water management to work alongside it.
- Reduce pollution in the air, water and general climate.
- To maintain a reduction in our environmental footprint.
- To prevent the loss of wildlife where our practices have effected the population of many species.
How can we farm sustainably?
- Have a detailed plan to rotate your crops. This ensures that the soil can replenish its nutrients and salts.
- Try to have a diversity of crops growing in one place.
- Plant crops in soil that would normally remain empty - this can help to prevent erosion and unpleasant weeds.
- Reduce the amount of tilling that takes place, as this can prevent erosion and help to improve the soil.
- Find an effective pest control method that does not involve the use of chemicals.
- Farmers should try to use recycling methods wherever possible, such as reusing crop waste and manure, for instance as fertilisers to enrich the soil.
- Explore the options of using hydro power and solar panels for energy.
- Use a managed grazing system - moving livestock can drastically reduce erosion and your animals will receive better nutrients in the process.
- Manually remove weeds from your land and do not burn them, this will cause pollution and result in poor soil quality.
What are the benefits of sustainable farming?
- If as many people as possible work towards sustainable farming, it can have a real impact on helping to preserve the environment.
- It can offer economic profitability, with better quality produce available for people to buy.
- Sustainable farming will allow for a more efficient use of non-renewable sources, ensuring they are only used where absolutely necessary.
- It will help to look after the general health of the public, through more nutrient rich produce and less pollution in the air.