Can You Find Sustainable Agriculture at a Philadelphia Food Market?
There are many different movements catching some traction around the United States. If you go into a food market, you probably see a bunch of different kinds of labels. You might see food that is labeled organic or natural. Some food might even be labeled as “sustainable.” It is likely you’ve heard of sustainable agriculture or seen something that says the food has been grown sustainably. However, vegetables are a natural and renewable resource. So, what does it mean when food is labeled sustainable? Isn’t all food sustainable?
Essentially, sustainable agriculture is a philosophy that focuses on ecology. Ecology is the study of environments and how organisms interact with them. Sustainable agriculture is typically thought of as a system of producing livestock and plants that can last over a long term. The aims of these sites are to fulfill the food needs of consumers. Also, they seek to enhance the quality of the surrounding environment and the resources that create the food itself. This philosophy focuses on efficiently using non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels. Since these resources cannot be replaced and tend to pollute the environment, using as little as possible is key to maintaining ecological balance. Whenever possible, non-renewable resources are replaced with renewable resources. For example, gas or diesel farm equipment can be replaced with ethanol farm equipment. Ethanol is a fuel-grade alcohol produced from organic sources such as corn or sugarcane.
A Philadelphia Food Market, for example, might focus on sustainably-grown food. These procedures ensure that a farm stays viable economically and ecologically.
The concerns about sustainable food are not only ecological but also economical. Sustainably grown food can be more expensive than traditional food you might find in a food market. Human beings are one of the resources that need to be taken care of to ensure that a farm stays viable. To increase the viability of a farm, the farmers must make enough money to sustain their families. To that end, the food can be higher priced than some other food because the farmer has to make a living wage.
However, the food is typically grown closer to the source than other food. If you are in a food market in a certain area, the food is probably grown fairly close by. That is because maintaining a close link between producer and consumer ensures that the farm stays viable. Also, the reliance on natural techniques means that the food might spoil faster. So, it has to be available to the consumer as quickly as possible. Since the shipping costs will be much lower, the increased wages to the farmer can be offset. It is not necessary that sustainable food be more expensive, but it is sometimes the case that they are. That money goes towards keeping the farmer productive, though, so most people consider it worth the cost.