A sustainable process is one that, barring something catastrophic that wasn’t predictable, can continue indefinitely. Of course, there are practical limits to this definition, but ideally can encompass a time span of more than one human lifetime.
Sustainable farming, therefore, is a collection processes that allow a farm to produce strong yields while maintaining the land in a perpetual state of readiness to continue on. These techniques are also “sustainable” because they benefit the farm’s occupants as well as the environment in general. This is one definition among thousands you can find across many reference materials. And, like the wide array of definitions you might find, techniques, systems, and processes differ greatly from practitioner to practitioner.
Whatever your definition, there is nothing new about this type of agriculture. During large parts of human history different versions of sustainable farming have fed entire regions. By working with a local ecosystem, wise farmers maintained ancient operations that fed local populations while maintaining harmony with nature. That is not to say that sustainable agriculture is well-suited to the massive corporate farming operations we know today. It isn’t possible to maintain a balance with nature on such a scale and never will be. In fact, corporate farming is the antithesis of sustainable farming.
The principal concept of sustainable farming is that the farmer receives what they need from the land in order to flourish. They then give back to the earth so that it can recover and continue in the future. There is a give and take, a mutually beneficial relationship between the land and the farmer. It is a life of stewardship in that the farmer recognizes that he needs the land far more than the land needs him. When carefully planned and executed, a wise farmer can provide for a group of people for their entire lives and be able to turn the land over to a new generation when his time is over.
We recognize that there is a good deal of crossover between a several other related disciplines. Because of this, on this site you can also find information about topics like homesteading, urban farming, permaculture, off-grid living, and more.
Obviously, this is a vast topic that can spawn thousands of questions. This blog is a sign post only. For those interested in learning more about reconnecting with nature through sustainable farming, look into some of the titles below.