miércoles, julio 07, 2004

This was published on the San Francisco Chronicle on July 3.

Sustainable agriculture is more than organic methods

By Deborah K. Rich

Sustainable agriculture seeks to promote the health and welfare of the farmer, the farm community and the farm environment. Proponents argue that simply buying organic doesn't go far enough. They want us to buy fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses produced not only organically, but locally and in season as well: purchases that support jobs in our community, that maintain our rural base and that don't impose the costs of cross-country or cross- border shipping on the environment.

Advocates of sustainable agriculture expect us to find out if farmers pay their workers enough so that the workers themselves can afford to buy organic lettuce and free-range chickens. They want us to ask our farmers to begin to develop self-sustaining systems -- to produce soil improvements, seed, even fuel and packaging materials on the farm or to obtain them locally -- and to question the impact of these systems on the environment. And better pour yourself a cup of coffee (shade-grown); coming soon to a ballot near you: genetically modified organisms.


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