From farm to table and back to the farm
Sunday, September 25, 2022 9:19 AM
The goal of sustainable agriculture is to meet society’s food and textile needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (https://sarep.ucdavis.edu/sustainable-ag)
A question we are asked all the time is “Are you organic?” The short answer is no. The more complex answer is yes & no. We have always considered our farm a sustainable in that we try to be good stewards of the land.
The Difference between Organic and Sustainable
Organic farming generally falls within the accepted definition of sustainable agriculture. However, it is important to distinguish between the two, since organic products can be (unsustainably) produced on large industrial farms and farms that are not certified organic can produce food using methods that will sustain the farm's productivity for generations.
To distinguish between organic and sustainable, here are some comparisons:
Certification-Organic farms must be independently certified every year and approved by the USDA, while a farm using sustainable practices does not require any official certification. Organic is an actual certification; sustainable is more a philosophy or way of life.
Corporate Involvement-Organic food can be produced by large corporations, while sustainable food production is carried out by small farmers and families who live on the land where they farm.
Size of the farm-For organic farming, there is no limitation on how many acres can be used to grow crops. Sustainable farmers plant crops in relatively small, mixed plots as a form of pest control and to build soil fertility.
Food Miles-Organic food can travel thousands of miles before reaching your dinner plate. Certification does not take into consideration the use of fossil fuels used to truck food. Sustainable food, however, is distributed and sold as close to the farm as possible.
The produce we grow on our farm follows a sustainable path. We start all produce from seed, plant and harvest. The initial harvest pick is first quality that is either sold on the farm or taken to Northern Virginia farmer’s markets. What is not sold is considered seconds which are sold for a lesser price. We offer our $5 fill-a-bag and also wholesale shed day for larger quantities at below wholesale. This gives the community a chance to get a still better than grocery store quality of product for affordable prices. Next we donate to local food pantries to help serve local families in need. Lastly anything still left goes to our compost to begin the journey back to the soil. As with our produce, we try to reuse containers, cardboard and any other items used on the farm until they are really no longer recyclable. The original concept of recycling. We try to leave our small footprint on the earth in as good of condition as we started if not better.