Sustainable Agriculture – Basic principles.
The concept of sustainable agriculture revolves around three basic principles, environmental health, economic profitability and social as well as economic equity. Sustainability has a founding precept that we must meet our own needs here in the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their own needs. Environmental health means keeping our responsibilities to the stewardship of land, community and future generations.
Economic profitability, states that any sustainable agriculture must create profitable revenue for the community that it caters to as well as the community that supports it, with proper sustainable management techniques while participating actively in the culture and economy around it. Economic equity is the part of sustainable agriculture that builds a valuable and renewable asset for the long-term, with high potential for growth.
If an agriculture is to be sustainable, then stewardship is essential. Environmental health is good for the economy of the product, its marketing, the surrounding community and the consumers as well. By making sure that the water, land, wildlife, ecological diversity, riparian streams/plants, livestock and plant production are diversified and biologically economical and stable the farm becomes far more resilient. Perfecting diversity means always striving to obtain integration between livestock and crop cultivation, in accordance to the sustainable precept.
Economic profitability is not merely an area that depends on how governments treat sustainable agriculture. Economic profitability is also making efficient use of what is invested into the farm externally, or “inputs”. Anything going into a sustainable agriculture is essentially investing in the long-term sustainability of “self-sufficient” scenario, which means inputs should be minimized absolutely. The only input allowed should be biological in nature, such as the sun, a river, wind… etc. Even electricity and fuel should ideally be produced within the system. Management is the key. Usually scientific knowledge and enhanced management techniques are far too inaccessible for current projects, making transitions gradual.
Economic equity in sustainable agriculture develops the farm or community in such a way that time will only increase the economic value. Current methods of agriculture do not take into account the value of time. Since the mid 1950’s till now, the American government has developed an agriculture that consumes wealthy land and spits back useless desert. As disconcerting as that is, sustainable agriculture fights to repossess the useless plots of land that short-term profit mentality tries to disregard. Economic equity is about long-term goals, long term profit, and long term thinking in general because it will stimulate a future that is ethically productive for ourselves and our future generations.
Sustainable agriculture can be about reclaiming lost or unproductive plots of land, but it is also about the future. No matter what the condition or situation in any given area, sustainable agriculture fights the battle to achieve everything we need now and protecting the needs of generations to come. Long term thinking like this is what gives sustainable agriculture such an advantage over conventional short term thinking used my the majority of the market today. Sustainable agriculture keeps social, political, economical and cultural conditions in perspective so that low impact environmental and human strategies are effective and successful. With the proper scientific knowledge and enhanced management skills sustainable agriculture overthrows conventional inputs creating a circuit of production that takes advantage of the natural biological laws of mother nature, to produce profitable gain for ourselves and generations to come. Sustainable agriculture is the future.