5 Reasons Urban Farming Is More Sustainable Than Industrialized Farming.
Finding sustainable alternatives to sourcing life’s basic necessities will require that we vote with our pocketbook and support sustainable solutions, even if they might not yet be the most convenient or the cheapest. One way you can support changes in the food system is to get your food from urban farms.
- Urban Farming has very little need for oil. Conventional food distribution systems use an enormous amount of oil. Nearly everyone knows by now that the average piece of food in the supermarket travels 1,500 hundred miles to get there. Consider all the oil inputs in the industrial agriculture process: the farmer’s tractors and fertilizers, the transportation to a processing plant, the fuel to run the processing plant, the transportation to the supermarket, the energy to run the supermarket…Imagine how much less oil would be used to get your food from a local farm? There are no tractors, no transportation, no processing plants, and no supermarkets. And if you ride your bike then is zero energy is used.
- Organic food from Urban Farms is pesticide free. The pesticide industry sprung up after WWII. The chemical companies were left with large supplies of chemicals after the war and figured out they could use them on our food system to kill bugs. Unfortunately we learned that spraying DDT on our food sources caused lots of other problems, like cancer in humans and fatalities in animals. Studies have shown that there are measureable amounts of pesticides on food even after it’s washed. The estimated environmental and health care costs of pesticide use at recommended levels in the United States run about $12 Billion every year. Nitrates from conventional farming runoffs have created a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico the size of a small state.
- Urban farms are better for people and the environment. Industrialized food systems cause deaths through pesticide poisonings and high numbers of farmer have committed suicides, while millions of jobs have been lost in rural areas. A United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Report strongly suggests that a worldwide shift to organic agriculture can fight world hunger and at the same time tackle climate change. According to FAO’s previous World Food Summit report, conventional agriculture, together with deforestation and rangeland burning, are responsible for 30 percent of the CO2 and 90 percent of nitrous oxide emissions worldwide.
- Urban farms help promote a plant-based diet. The production of a calorie of meat protein takes up to 10 times as much oil as the production of a calorie of planet protein. When I tell people I’m a vegetarian, their first question usually is, “how do you get your protein?” The truth is we can get all the protein we need from a plant-based diet. Many nutritionists recommend that at least two-thirds of dietary protein be derived from plant-based foods. Many Americans eat twice as much protein as needed. Too-high protein consumption is linked to kidney disease, cancers of the colon, breast, prostate and pancreas. In addition, too much protein can make you fat since most of the typical protein sources in the American diet (70 percent of which comes from animal and dairy foods) are high in fat and calories.
- Urban farms are a stable source of Non-GMO food. Genetically modified organisms have taken over our food supply in the US. Up to 90% of the soybeans and 50% of the corn planted in the United States is genetically modified. Organic and non-GMO farms are a great risk because of cross-pollination. Some countries, like Austria and Japan, have banned the import of genetically modified organisms. As our world gets smaller, the risk of complete GMO contamination of our food source grows by the day. Which is why it is important to reestablish urban farms across the country that grow non-GMO food and protect our right to eat plants as nature intended.
Are you getting your food from the local urban farm or farmer’s market, or are you still shopping at the grocery store?