This 1943 cartoon shows a patriotic householder.
How many different things can you spot him doing to help the 'Grow Your Own' campaign?
This is a wonderful example of self-sufficient living. Proof that anyone can 'Do It Yourself' and you don't need to live on a farm either!
What is Sustainable Agriculture?
Sustainable agriculture encompasses diverse methods of farming and ranching that are more profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.
What can you do to support sustainable agriculture?
If you care about how your food is produced, learn about and become an active participant in the food system. As a customer, your food-buying dollars become your clout, and where you choose to spend those dollars your vote for or against food production methods. This list will help you make ecological- and farmer-friendly choices when you buy food.
Find a Farmer's Market.
The number of farmers markets in the United States has grown dramatically to more than 3,000. Why are they so popular? Farmers markets provide food purchasers with same-day-picked fresh products, a fun shopping venue and an opportunity for eaters to meet and talk directly with the people who grow their food. Farmers, too, can learn more about their customers. To find a farmers market near you, click here.
Find a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm
CSAs allow people to invest in the harvest of a farm before the crops are planted. In exchange for their investment, "shareholders" receive fresh fruits and vegetables (and sometimes products such as cheese, flowers, eggs and meat), weekly throughout the season. CSA members accept part of the financial risks associated with farming and enjoy access to "their" farms for educational events and volunteer opportunities. To find a CSA farm near you, click here.
Community and school gardens can provide an important source of fresh produce, particularly for under-served populations in low-income neighborhoods. They become a good source of information about growing food as well as places for community gatherings.
Pick-your-own farms and roadside stands provide access to fresh produce directly from the farmer who grew it. Prices for pick-your-own are reduced in exchange for your labor, and the trip to the farm provides an excellent outing for groups of families and friends, particularly children.
Buying organic products supports farmers who do not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers and adhere to federal standards to protect the environment. Organic products provide premium prices to producers for their extra management time and risk. Look for "certified organic" labels when shopping.
Talk to the source of your food to learn more about how it is grown. Join and patronize food co-ops, ask grocery managers to buy from growers and processors who use sustainable methods, and ask for food origins on restaurant menus. If you express interest in eating sustainably produced and processed food, chances are that your suppliers will respond. Click here for locations near you and scan for "eco" labels when shopping.
Seek alternative sources for buying meat, such as from producers who raise livestock using free-range strategies. Local Extension offices at your land-grant university can point to you to growers in your state, or click here for a national list of alternative meat producers.
Explore on-line options for sustainably grown products, which also can make great gifts. National source lists and other sources abound.
A new public television program partly supported by SARE features the talents of the nation’s most acclaimed chefs and the farmers they rely upon. “Chefs A’ Field: Culinary Adventures That Begin on the Farm” takes viewers onto the farm for an over-the-shoulder view of chef-farmer exchanges. Learn more at http://www.sare.org/coreinfo/chefsafield.htm
Adapted from Cornell Cooperative Extension Food and Nutrition Center and
the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.
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This page last modified: April 5, 2005