Everything’s gotta eat.
All life needs food, and everything relies on a healthy environment for it. Since we humans cultivate our own, farming and the environment are naturally inseparable.
Here in Ontario, and Canada more generally, farmers have a lot to draw from when it comes to environmental improvement. Cover crops like clovers and grasses can help reduce topsoil erosion and increase organic matter; GPS makes for more targeted use of fertilizers and pesticides; higher quality feed means healthier and more efficient animals; conservation projects help growers reduce their water use, establish wildlife habitat, and much more.
A farm – and the family behind it – can’t operate for generation after generation if environmental sustainability isn’t taken seriously, after all.
Agriculture exists the world over, and each farm has its own set of challenges, opportunities, and triumphs when it comes to the health of our air, water, and soil. What suits one farm may not suit another – though there are often a few ways to approach new challenges. Indeed, both agriculture and our planet’s environment are incredibly complex, and that’s something to celebrate.
Politics and narrow thinking, however, have a habit of oversimplifying things to an unhelpful – and dare I suggest dangerous – degree. It’s a problem to be sure, and one that takes a constant, global effort to confront. The health of our planet relies on our understanding of both the positives and the negatives of agriculture’s relationship to the environment, as well as ways to continuously improve how we produce food.
So, for this year’s Earth Day, go to the source – check out what the environment means to farmers, get the science, and give politics the boot.
Curious about environmental initiatives here in Ontario? Check out these links:
Best Management Practices – Methods farmers use to promote environmental stewardship
The “Soil Your Undies” test – Farmers measure soil quality with underwear
Faces of Farming – Profiles of Ontario farms and the families behind them
Farm & Food Care on Facebook – Quick facts on Canadian food and farming
Farm & Food Care on YouTube – Videos of all kinds, from on-farm water conservation to how chickens are raised
Have questions about farming, the environment, and science in Canada and around the world? Get some answers through the links below:
Best Food Facts – For any and all questions about your food
Cornell University Alliance for Science – Profiles of science in the field, from Alberta to Uganda