As moms, we tend to do most of the shopping. That means we get to vote with our wallets. The truth is that almost nothing you say is as powerful as what you do. The best way to support your local farmer and crop biodiversity is to buy from your local farmers and farmer’s markets. When at larger grocer stores, look for local heirloom offerings and make sure you support those too! Another great way to support small farms is to buy seasonal food through a local Community Supported Agriculture CSA program.
Supporting Localized Farming and Crop Biodiversity
We can be a powerful force for change. We can help address the reduction of biodiversity that has been speedily occurring in our crop production over the last century as GMOs have taken over along with mass farming. Furthermore, we can do all that just by supporting our local farmers!
“In other environmental issues we tell people to stop something, reduce their impact, reduce their damage,” states US Ecologist Gary Nabhan in a recent interview. “Now we are telling people to start something- start supporting localized farming to preserve crop biodiversity.” Nabhan is a ethnobotanist/gardener whose promotion of biodiversity has caught the attention of many over the years. He is known for his work in biodiversity as an ethnobotanist. Since Coming Home to Eat was published in 2001, the local food movement has ignited, causing a worldwide green epidemic.
Sustainability Through Conservation
There has been a dramatic rise over the past few years in the number of organizations and businesses that have contributed to the promotion of sustainability through conservation. The Earth Day Network has been playing a large part in bringing conservationist and green enthusiasts together. Sharing ideas and discussing new ways to support the planet is a very important part of conservation.
Large organizations and non-profits like the CGI (Clinton Global Initiative) have been working on successful emission reduction projects in the San Francisco Bay area. While climate control has continued to worsen, collaborative and individual acts are vital for any successful green campaign. As human beings, we’re constantly told to reduce our carbon footprint, consume less unhealthy foods, and spend less time in the shower! But let’s take a minute to step back and look at this from a different perspective. In order to support crop biodiversity, we don’t have to stop doing things. You can start doing something instead! Shop local markets and support your local farmer! Eat out at farm to table restaurants.
According to The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization–
Only about a quarter of crop diversity is left and that a dozen species now gives 90% of the animal protein eaten globally. In accordance, just 4 crop species supply half of plant based calories in the human diet.
Eat What You Want To Conserve
Eating foods that are home-grown and supporting localized farming will have a greater impact on sustainability for our planet as a whole. Otherwise known as “eat what you conserve,” it is a well-established theory. By eating the fruits and vegetables that we are attempting to conserve/save, we’re promoting the granular dissemination of various plant species. It is actually one of the best ways of influencing food systems.
Agriculturist Marco Contiero also mentions that “biodiversity is an essential characteristic of any sustainable agricultural system, especially in the context of climate change.” According to Conterio’s theory, this would suggest that as individuals we tend our own crops/ plants, and should make sure to purchase localized farm products at supermarkets and groceries. In the end, this condenses export/import reliance, thus reducing our carbon footprint.
Both theories rely profoundly on an action oriented approach of conservation and sustainability. With an abundance of green movements following Earth Day 2010, organizations and individuals have taken a stronger following to expert opinions like the ones demonstrated by both of these highly influential agriculturalists.
How To Support Your Local Farmer:
Here is a list of things you can you do to help preserve crop biodiversity and support your local farmer.
- Shop Fresh Food at Your Local Farmers Market.
Be sure to support localized farming by visiting a farmers’ market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Stop At Local Produce Stands.
As eco-conscious individuals, don’t hesitate to stop the next time you drive by a yard stand with fresh crops or local products.
- Buy Direct From Farmers.
Use EatWild.com to help you locate pasture-based farms near you. You can find local farms that sell dairy, meat, and produce. Many times they offer memberships or CSA boxes.
- Look for Heirloom Produce.
Whether at the grocery store or a farm, see if there are unusual produce offerings that you can support. Heirloom tomatoes, for example, are getting easier to find because more customers are asking for them.
Acknowledging the Importance of Farmers
A food system refers to the method by which people get their foods. It encompasses everything from methods of agriculture to availability of food. How can we vote for better food systems? We can vote for a better food system through our actions. We can make sustainable choices that lead to sustainable food systems. This begins on a personal level but we can make the most impact by influencing our communities and asking for policy change.
Farmers aren’t just farmers, they’re business-women and men, stewards of the land, and educators, sharing knowledge in their communities. Slow Food International works with farmers all over the world, helping recognize their importance to preserve biodiversity and culture. Green Door Gourmet features natural, sustainable, organic method produce, plants and herbs for the southern kitchen and garden, farm inspired products and agritourism events. @GreenDoorCSA
Agriculture can be the solution to some of the world’s most pressing challenges—including unemployment, obesity, and climate change. These innovations simply need more research, more investment, and ultimately more funding. Sustainable agriculture and preservation of farmland are green choices. Promoting biodiversity and localized farming is a crucial piece of the conservation puzzle. You can make a complex problem a little more simple by supporting your local farmers.