RESOURCE HUB: AGRICULTURE & FARMING

What is Agriculture?
Agriculture usually references the broader industry that encompasses all the activities involved in cultivating, harvesting, processing, and distributing food and other products that are produced by farming. The definition of agriculture according to the dictionary is: “… the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, and other products”

What is Farming?

Farming is the act of raising crops and livestock.  When people  think about traditional farming, they usually have visions of barns, tractors, irrigation equipment and a guy in a flannel shirt and a straw hat. They may have images of fields of wheat and barley blowing in the wind or big rows of corn and gigantic harvesters. Although this may still be true in certain cases, a lot has changed over the years.

The importance of Agriculture & Farming

Agriculture and farming have always played a crucial role in society.  It is hard to overstate how important that role is today, not only to provide food, but also to provide many of the products that we take for granted. Agriculture has a huge affect on the economy, environment, and social structures as a whole.  In order to build a better society, we need to take a close look at agriculture and food production systems.  The field of agroecology and sustainable food systems is an exciting exploration that can produce innovations that can truly change the world.  Food security and health equity are global issues that will need to be closely examined.  There is a lot of room for improvement.

Where your food comes from matters! What food we eat and put into your body is not only important for our health, but it also can have enormous implications for people and the environment.Too often, rural farmers and urban city dwellers find themselves at odds with one another instead of seeing how they are tightly interwoven into an interdependent system.  Working on building trust and understanding between them will take time, require empathy and a willingness to listen and learn.

We need farmers, and they need us.  Farmers have to deal with a lot from weather, regulations,  and economic issues. Farming is one of the most difficult professions to maintain. Many farmers are over 50 and their children are not interested in continuing in a farming career. This will have a major effect on the future.  It takes hard work, business acumen, patience, and determination to survive in the world of agriculture. At the same time, it can be extremely rewarding.  There are phenomenal opportunities for those who decide to pursue agriculture jobs and careers.

There are many ways we can  improve our agriculture and farming practices and transform our food systems. We flesh out these ideas and other related issues more specifically other topical resource hubs.

There are efforts underway to move towards renewable agriculture and food systems. Regenerative agriculture takes a look at the entire system in order to find ways to make the system more sustainable. The new methods and technologies have the potential to make life a lot better for both the farmers, consumers, and the environment.  These innovations lead to exciting opportunities for those interested in learning more about how to develop sustainable food systems.

We should encourage more people to get into farming and agriculture on every level.  In general, the family farms have been rapidly disappearing. We can rethink the perfectly manicured lawns and landscapes of the cities and suburbs leave lots of room for opportunities to address issues of food security and health equity.  We can look into how to develop subsistence agriculture and small scale farms in the community. Urban agriculture, community farms, vertical gardens,  hydroponics, green roofs, and growing microgreens  are all potential markets. There is also interest in producing food inside commercial buildings and building small scale farming on land outside of the city. Movies like “The Biggest Little Farm” has inspired another generartion to think about possibilities of sustainable agriculture and adapt new practices for existing agriculture.

It is worth taking time to learn from the experts on how you can grow your own food.  It is also important to look at the nutrients that are in the food that you eat and feed your family.  Learning how your food is grown, where it is produced, and how it gets to you will help you think about how it all fits together into the food system.  This can help guide your decisions to make better choices to lead a happy, healthy life that also will contribute to a healthier planet and better equity for people all over the world.  You can also help provide a market for farmers to help them decide what to grow and guide policy decisions to improve our food systems and health equity.

Anyone who is interested in farming, whether it’s subsistence farming from your own home or whether it’s buying a plot of land and developing your own agri-business, should seek out all the  resources available to get you started.  There are many things to think about before one considers this kind of endeavor.

Check with your local University extension office.  You can learn a lot by consulting with people actually working in the agriculture business.   There is also a lot of information on the internet. Grow Purpose will be here to help.  GP plans to do the research and talk to actual farmers and visit farms to examine the different ways that agriculture is done. There are some good case studies on our own local, coastal farm and ranch.  We will sort through a lot of if and provide you the best, narrowed down information to help you.   The more people that get interested, the more potential for new discoveries to help transform the food system.

You can improve your health and help support farmers in a number of ways. Educate yourself on the nutrients in the food you eat, where it comes from, how it is produced, and how it gets to you. You can get involved in community supported agriculture, volunteer at a community farm, purchase locally grown produce,  and support “farm to table” restaurants and food establishments.  You should also reach out and communicate with farmers and help them to understand your needs and the market.  You can also learn ways to cook and prepare healthy food that can be fun for your whole family.  It is also important to learn about food security issues and food deserts to find ways to address health and food equity and communicate to policy makers to make affordable, healthy food available to all.

RESOURCE HUB: AGRICULTURE & FARMING

 



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