Most family farms have always observed a form of sustainable agriculture, although many did not have a fancy name for it. Simply put, we’ve understood that in order to continue to grow crops and support our family based on agriculture, we needed to respect the land itself, giving the soil the opportunity to replenish and, indeed, sustain.
Today, sustainable agriculture involves a great deal more science. We’ve learned ways to raise hormone-free, grass fed cattle. Many crops are grown totally organically, or using minimal methods to control pests and weeds. We also emphasize the stewardship of both the natural and human resources, respecting the land, the vegetation, the laborers, and community surrounding the farm.
“A systems perspective is essential to understanding sustainability. The system is envisioned in its broadest sense, from the individual farm, to the local ecosystem, and to communities affected by this farming system both locally and globally. An emphasis on the system allows a larger and more thorough view of the consequences of farming practices on both human communities and the environment. A systems approach gives us the tools to explore the interconnections between farming and other aspects of our environment.” UC Davis, Agriculture Sustainability Institute