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Thank A Farmer This Earth Day

Thank A Farmer This Earth Day

As somebody who writes about farming, I find the negative view that many people have of farmers and farming disheartening. Sadly, that view often comes from things that others have written in both the mainstream media and the blogosphere. And, as Earth Day approaches, I have been thinking of ways to counter that. The only thing I came up with is to write about the positive things that farmers are doing for our environment and our health.

I have already done this often on Care2 but, I think it’s something that needs be done on a continuous basis. For example, as I wrote about before, Certified Naturally Grown, is a non-profit group formed by farmers as an option for small scale, direct-market farmers who can’t afford to get certified organic, but who do use USDA organic standards. The difference is that unlike the USDA program, Certified Naturally Grown doesn’t require set fees, only what a farmer can afford. So far, almost 500 farmers from 47 states have enrolled in the Certified Naturally Grown label.

I also wrote about the Wild Farm Alliance formed by another group of farmers that is preserving open space for wildlife and species by promoting healthy, viable agriculture that helps protect and restore wild nature.

These two groups are just a small sample of all of the efforts that farmers are taking to preserve our environment. Farmers are the largest stewards of our land, and work to protect our environment every day of the year, yet most things we read about them don’t mention this at all. Think about it, if they did not protect the land, they couldn’t produce the food and fiber we all need.

Many farmers use Best Management Practices (BMPs) to address water quality and quantity issues using things like conservation tillage, conservation or riparian buffers, and erosion and sediment control. Still others are working to find ways to produce more food on less land so they will have less impact on soil and water resources.

This is not unique; most farmers have a genuine love for the land they work, and not just for the practical need of keeping their soil rich for production. So, if there are those with practices you don’t like, rather than attack all farmers or paint them all with the same brush, write to them, don’t buy their products, make them accountable for what they are putting in the ground and in our bodies. If we stop supporting things that don’t sustain us, or our planet, and there’s no profit in it for them, they will be forced to change the way they do business.

Conversely, do support those whose values, practices, growing methods, and philosophies you support and tell your friends and family to do the same. One of the greatest gifts of shopping at a farmers’ market or directly from a farm is the relationship that we develop with the people who grow our food. Use your consumer power to make change by supporting only sustainable farmers and farming.

Sustainability is the key for both our earth and our farmers. So to celebrate Earth Day try to support local producers and farmers to make sure they can earn a profit and sustain themselves and keep farming. These local farmers live in your community and buying locally produced food from them also helps to feed that local economy. The increase in the number of farmers’ markets and CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) has made it easier to support our local farmers.

Related Links:
Top 10 Reasons to Buy Organic
In Search of Good Food
Help Sustainable Farmers: Join a Crop Mob
Choices, Choices, Choices: How Sustainable Are Yours?

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Do Good, Food, Nature, , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

79 comments

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3:52AM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Great article, I'm involved in running a campaign called 'Thank a Farmer' which is aimed at thanking Britain's farmers. Farmer's work is hugely important in keeping the communities and countries running and is often under appreciated. Check out the campaign website and show your support for Britains Farmers by leaving a thank you message! - http://www.thankstofarmers.org/

6:29AM PST on Feb 6, 2012

Thankyou.

3:49PM PST on Feb 3, 2012

It's so unfortunate when honest hardworking farmers who care about the land they tend and the animals they raise, are overshadowed by the factory farms who care about money. Most of my family are farmers and have been for generations. My father will literally stay up all night in the barn if he has a goat or sow ready to give birth. I know we need to be informed of the bad stuff before it will change, but I also wish we heard a little more of the good stuff.

11:59AM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

thanks

8:12PM PDT on May 26, 2011

Thanks!

12:21PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

Message cut off, see Michael C below

Your market is endless, organically grown produce, fish raised w/o mercury, did i die and go to heaven.
Well, it is out there, take a look, there is plenty of room for an other grower in AQUAPONICS.

12:21PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

Message cut off, see Michael C below

Your market is endless, organically grown produce, fish raised w/o mercury, did i die and go to heaven.
Well, it is out there, take a look, there is plenty of room for an other grower in AQUAPONICS.

12:16PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

I can only say that being a farmer is probably one of the most thankless jobs, ask any garbageman or a dishwasher.
I gave up in-soil farming years ago, about the same time that i began raising tilapia. So a thought can to mind, why not combine the two and create a synergy between fish and plants.
Today, we raise fish and the nutrient waste water is fed into canals, floating in them are rafts of plants. No fertilizers, no pesticides, lesser maintenance. Sure, your still "married" to your work but what a pleasure.
We harvest 300+ Kg of tilapia every six weeks, we are able to harvest daily, huge amounts of organically grown veggies and fruits.
Currently, we are awaiting official international recognition as an organic facility. Sorry, no such for fish but most know there are other means to present that your fish have been grown correctly.
Our system is completely powered by solar and wind, water replacement is less than 2% per year. Land use is 0.05 ha/1/8 of an acre, enlarging to two systems is just math, slightly more than double the original amount. We produce biodiesel here for our vehicles.
All water is returned to the fish nearly clean enough to drink and the process repeats its self. Rather elegant, in a simple way.
For those of you blessed with a temperate climate, warm water fish is the way to go. For those able to house plants in a greenhouse and raise cold water fish, life can get petty sweet.
Your market is endless, organically grown produc

3:36PM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

I love my hubby farmer... and I know he treats his land and his animals like a family teasure....

5:24AM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

Thank you for posting.

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