These unintended consequences have helped to bolster the development of sustainable agriculture. You can define "sustainable" in many ways, but at its core it is an engagement in practices that keep the environment healthy and food production economically and socially viable. Broad Definition Living within our environmental limits is a basic tenet of agriculture sustainability, but the focus of sustainable agriculture is often much broader. Human resource stewardship encompasses the working and living conditions of farmers and staff, the needs of rural communities and long-term consumer health.
The incorporation of biological and ecological processes into agricultural and food production practices. For example, these processes could include nutrient cyclingsoil regenerationand nitrogen fixation.
Using decreased amounts of non-renewable and unsustainable inputs, particularly the ones that are environmentally harmful. Using the expertise of farmers to both productively work the land as well as to promote the self-reliance and self-sufficiency of farmers.
Solving agricultural and natural resource problems through the cooperation and collaboration of people with different skills. The problems tackled include pest management and irrigation. Farming and natural resources[ edit ] Traditional farming methods had a low carbon footprint.
Sustainable agriculture can be understood as an ecosystem approach to agriculture. Long-term experiments have provided some of the best data on how various practices affect soil properties essential to sustainability.
In the United States a federal agency, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, specializes in providing technical and financial assistance for those interested in pursuing natural resource conservation and production agriculture as compatible goals.
Conservation farming in Zambia The most important factors for an individual site are sun, air, soil, nutrientsand water. Of the five, water and soil quality and quantity are most amenable to human intervention through time and labor.
Although air and sunlight are available everywhere on Earth, crops also depend on soil nutrients and the availability of water.
When farmers grow and harvest crops, they remove some of these nutrients from the soil.
Without replenishment, land suffers from nutrient depletion and becomes either unusable or suffers from reduced yields. Sustainable agriculture depends on replenishing the soil while minimizing the use or need of non-renewable resources, such as natural gas used in converting atmospheric nitrogen into synthetic fertilizeror mineral ores e.
Possible sources of nitrogen that would, in principle, be available indefinitely, include: The last option was proposed in the s, but is only gradually becoming feasible. More realistic, and often overlooked, options include long-term crop rotationsreturning to natural cycles that annually flood cultivated lands returning lost nutrients indefinitely such as the flooding of the Nilethe long-term use of biocharand use of crop and livestock landraces that are adapted to less than ideal conditions such as pests, drought, or lack of nutrients.
Crops that require high levels of soil nutrients can be cultivated in a more sustainable manner with appropriate fertilizer management practices. Water[ edit ] In some areas sufficient rainfall is available for crop growth, but many other areas require irrigation.
For irrigation systems to be sustainable, they require proper management to avoid salinization and must not use more water from their source than is naturally replenishable. Otherwise, the water source effectively becomes a non-renewable resource.
Improvements in water well drilling technology and submersible pumpscombined with the development of drip irrigation and low-pressure pivots, have made it possible to regularly achieve high crop yields in areas where reliance on rainfall alone had previously made successful agriculture unpredictable.
However, this progress has come at a price. In many areas, such as the Ogallala Aquiferthe water is being used faster than it can be replenished.
Several steps must be taken to develop drought-resistant farming systems even in "normal" years with average rainfall. These measures include both policy and management actions: Indicators for sustainable water resource development are: This is the average annual flow of rivers and groundwater generated from endogenous precipitation, after ensuring that there is no double counting.
It represents the maximum amount of water resource produced within the boundaries of a country. This value, which is expressed as an average on a yearly basis, is invariant in time except in the case of proved climate change. The indicator can be expressed in three different units: This is the sum of internal renewable water resources and incoming flow originating outside the country.
Unlike internal resources, this value can vary with time if upstream development reduces water availability at the border. Treaties ensuring a specific flow to be reserved from upstream to downstream countries may be taken into account in the computation of global water resources in both countries.Sustainable agriculture can be understood as an ecosystem approach to agriculture.
Practices that can cause long-term damage to soil include excessive tilling of the soil (leading to erosion) and irrigation without adequate drainage (leading to salinization). Long-term experiments have provided some of the best data on how various practices affect soil properties essential to sustainability.
DuPont helps food manufacturers create sustainable food solutions for a growing population, from renewably sourced ingredients to slimmer packaging.
Who We Are. Our mission is to build the capacity of the organic food trade to transition to sustainable business models. SFTA serves as a hub for businesses to learn, improve performance, communicate results, share common metrics and best practices.
Sustainable living is fundamentally the application of sustainability to lifestyle choice and decisions. One conception of sustainable living expresses what it means in triple-bottom-line terms as meeting present ecological, societal, and economical needs without compromising these factors for future generations.
Why more hotels are switching to sustainable food policies and how to create a policy of your own. The importance of sourcing sustainable food may sound like an out of date topic. Some Background. How have we come to reconsider our food and fiber production in terms of sustainability?
What are the ecological, economic, social and philosophical issues that sustainable agriculture addresses?