Local Agriculture - the solution to sustainability

By Jordan Miller;

There was a time, not too long ago, where many cultures and/or societies around the globe embraced the tradition of growing and harvesting their own food. It was considered a common practice among tribal communities - as they believed it was the backbone to their cultural preservation and prolongation. Some of these customs have remained unchanged in certain parts of the world (i.e. the people of the Gamo highlands of Ethiopia); however, much of the communities today, particularly in the “western world”, have disconnected from this important practice.

The Corporate Invasion

Once accepted as the moral fiber of society and/or tribal structure, agriculture has since evolved into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. As a result of this evolution, much of the cultural significance behind local agriculture has heavily eroded. Today, our food is dominated by massive agricultural corporations who control a large percentage of the global food supply and, in effect, control much of the food we eat.

Is it any wonder that many people in our world today suffer from obesity and degenerative disease? Next time you’re in a supermarket or local grocery store take a real hard look at the food that is being sold. Much of it is pre-packaged, heavily processed or severely “jet-lagged”. In fact, food “staples” such as corn, wheat, dairy, meat, and soy are heavily subsidized by our governments making such products which contain these substances or isolates of these substances fairly cheap. Consequently, people often purchase these products over “healthy food” because they are much more economical. As a result of this, complacency sets in, resulting in continued profits for big business. In order to “break” this cycle, we must alter market demand.

Unfortunately, many have a hard time letting go of “fast food” because it is convenient and/or highly addictive. From a business standpoint, it’s all about the bottom line. Large agricultural corporations are into making the greatest return on their investment. Do they honestly care about the well-being and/or health of the people? That’s for you to decide. Simply put, there is no money in health. Sure, health makes a lot of cents, but it sure does not make a lot of dollars.

Regulators are not all that reliable either. Today, most companies are self- regulated, which means they can set their own standards. Furthermore, many federal regulators receive routine kickbacks from companies to ensure that the product remains on the market with little scrutiny or inspection. This further perpetuates the “revolving door” between business and government and promotes further propagation of “junk food”.

Large agricultural businesses generally operate under a “mechanized” farming structure. For the most part, this type of agriculture consists of farming acre upon acre of mono cultures (one crop). For example, crops like corn, soy or wheat are heavily grown in North America; the reason for this? Well, most of these “foods” or fractions of these foods are utilized as the main ingredient within a large number of the processed foods sold in your local grocery store today.

This very method of farming often leads to the destruction of forests and biodiversity. As a result, the soil becomes depleted of its nutrients (minerals) and thus its resistance to bugs and/or pestilence is heavily jeopardized. In the end, farmers have no choice to use an inordinate amount of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and in most cases, genetically modified seeds which have been created to resist such an onslaught of poisons. Does this sound like sustainable agriculture to you?

Sustainability and Supporting Local

Fortunately, there is a solution to all of this - support local agriculture! There is a growing movement among western nations as many are becoming aware of the erosion of local farming. The concept of buying local is slowly gaining ground. People are gathering worldwide touting the importance of local agriculture as a means to sustainability.

So, before you go out and pack your cart full of pre-packaged “goodies”, take time to reflect on your decisions. How are they impacting the community or environment? Are your food choices supporting the interests of the whole or are they simply satisfying short term, individual needs? Do you feel good purchasing and subsequently eating these foods? Many questions are bound to arise; however, when it comes down to it, it’s a choice we all have to make.

The concept here is to buy as much as you can locally, or better yet, start growing your own food – a garden can be both a sustainable food source as well as a welcomed challenge. In return, we are contributing to a stronger community and fostering closer relationships. Most importantly, we are eating the best food ever!

Make it your mission to buy fresh local organic whole food  or get involved in a local community supported agriculture (CSA) program. If you feel that it may be too much of a burden on your budget, start a garden. This way, you can grow the freshest organic produce and not have to worry if it has been treated with deadly pesticides or herbicides. You have the power to do what you wish ! After all, food really does matter!

Next time your out buying groceries, rather than opting for that twinkly or protein bar, why not grab a handful of cashews or a couple apples or even some grapes for a snack. Remember, if you want continued access to good food, support local agriculture - vote with your money!


About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.


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