How Sustainable Agriculture Works: Author’s Note

This is a subject that's close to my heart. My wife and I have a small organic vegetable operation and sell our produce at a local farmer's market. Growing healthy, sustainably raised food is important to us, but I'll be the first to admit that it's much harder and more expensive than conventional farming. If we were trying to run a much larger farm, it would be very tempting to use packaged chemical fertilizers that are cheap and highly effective. Every time I lose a crop to a bug infestation or a fungal disease, I understand why chemical pesticides and fungicides are such a godsend for agriculture. But as a father of three young children, I'm also concerned about the unknown effects of chemicals in our food and water. I applaud research efforts and increased funding to make sustainable farming practices more effective and more profitable so that consumers don't have to pay extra for safer, healthier food.

Sources

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  • Feenstra, Gail. University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. "What is Sustainable Agriculture?" (Accessed April 20, 2011.) http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/concept.htm
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  • McRae, Rod. McGill University. "Definition of the term 'Sustainable Agriculture'"(Accessed April 20, 2011.) http://eap.mcgill.ca/sustain.htm
  • Sustainable Agriculture Initiative. "Principles & Practices for Sustainable Water Management in Agriculture At a Farm Level." 2010 (Accessed April 21, 2011.) http://www.saiplatform.org/uploads/Library/Principles%20and%20Practices %20for%20%20Sustainable%20Water%20Management%20_At%20a %20farm%20level.pdf
  • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. "Capture Fuel from Animal Manure and Plant Waste" (Accessed April 20, 2011.) http://www.southernsare.org/Educational-Resources/Bulletins/National-SARE-Bulletins/Clean-Energy-Farming/Text-Version/Capture-Fuel-from-Animal-Manure-and-Plant-Waste
  • Walsh, Brian. Time Magazine. "Getting Real About The High Cost Of Cheap Food." August 21, 2009 (Accessed April 21, 2011.) http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1917458-1,00.html