Prev Next

How Sustainable Agriculture Works

By: Dave Roos

Sustainable Agriculture: Cheat Sheet

Stuff you need to know:

  • Sustainable agriculture is the name for a loose set of agricultural practices that conserve soil fertility, respect animal life, limit the use of potentially harmful chemicals, make efficient use of non-renewable resources and enhance the quality of life of farming communities and the larger society.
  • Sustainable agriculture employs natural processes to address issues like soil fertility, water management, crop management, energy management and waste management. While conventional farms might boost soil fertility with chemical fertilizers, a sustainable farm will rely on manure from on-farm animals and crop rotations. While a large conventional dairy will inoculate cows against bacterial infections with regular shots of antibiotics, a sustainable dairy will allow the cows to graze in more sanitary conditions, avoiding infections altogether.
  • Organic farming is a subset of sustainable agriculture in which no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides are applied to any crops or fed to any animals through non-organic feed sources.