Perhaps the most obnoxious "Is this backwards land??" feature of any discussion on sustainable, and just food are what we mean when we talk about 'conventional' farming. Because what we mean by that word is a process that is LESS THAN 100 YEARS OLD compared to what we mean by 'unconventional' farming, which is tens of thousands of years old! There is nothing conventional about using natural gas as a raw product to produce 'fertilizer' in a factory. Growing food with artificial fertilizer is like growing humans on nothing but processed, fortified junk: a terrible idea that yields terrible results. It's actually not rocket science.
Nature is not a linear system. Nature is a cyclical ecosystem. If we don't treat our farms like cyclical ecosystems, they are not sustainable. If they are not sustainable, it doesn't matter how high our production rates are because it's only a matter of time until we hit a wall.
It's like suggesting we solve the problem of coal miners losing jobs as we close coal mines by insisting we keep mining coal: like, cool, they've got jobs, but their kids won't have an inhabitable planet, soooo...
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Watch this video from the Lexicon of Sustainability to get clued in:
We've talked about a lot of these issues before, but I love seeing them explored from new perspectives, and having the history thrown in.
Where do you find unconventional growers? At your Farmers' Market of course!! But that's not the only place. More research is needed, but I've heard at least some lip service toward sustainability from Blue Apron, and Carnivore Club, a subscription service for rare, premium charcuterie (get in my mouth!!!), specializes in small, local artisans purchasing humanely raised meat. Whole Foods and similar markets, while expensive, do reliably stock unconventional foods, and even your standard big box market is likely to have BOTH an organic, and a local section these days! Thankfully, putting your wallet where your ethics are, and putting your ethics where your mouth is, is getting easier and easier, and the more we push for it, the easier it will be.
Now, speaking of the Carnivore Club (please tell me they sell jackets...), this whole, sustainable ecosystem deal is a bit of bad news for vegans. It may be possible, thanks to fungi and bugs, to have a sustainable ecosystem farm that doesn't feature food animals...but it's much simpler to keep chickens, cows, pigs, rabbits, etc. along side those diverse crops. Fortunately for all the vegans who don't believe that eating animals is simply wrong on its face, a sustainable ecosystem farm is one where the animals live out their lives as their instincts demand: i.e. quite happily! And if you feel in your heart that no matter how animals lived their lives, killing them for food is wrong, then trust me, your choice to be vegan benefits the planet simply by cutting down on the number of animals demanded for human consumption. Raising animals right requires A LOT of space and resources. Meat is absolutely a gourmet treat in the sustainable future we're hoping to build. We are ALL going to need your vegan recipe blogs, so keep them coming! Love and respect to you!
Speaking of which, got a rad veg or vegan holiday recipe? It's a great time to share. ;-)