Food systems are very complex, and if you consider farming methods, packaging and transportation, you can begin to understand the impact that they have on our planet, but as with many of our essential industries we can use better methods to
Degraded farmland is often abandoned, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Farmland restoration can bring make land productive again and often make it a carbon sink.
Degraded farmlands have been abandoned, especially in the developed world with little financial impact. This land can help in the battle against climate change as they undergo natural recovery of vegetation and soil carbon and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
However, recovery can be slow. Regeneration can be accelerated and maximised by managing plant diversity as well as adding manure or compost to the degraded soil.
A third of the Earth’s fertile soil is being ‘acutely degraded’ due to intensive farming as global demand for food grows, according to the UN.
With the rising awareness eco-friendly farming has become a priority. The solution is sustainable farming. Both policymakers and environmentalists are actively promoting eco-friendly and sustainable farming solutions to overcome the damages caused by demand and intensive farming.
Here are 5 sustainable farming practices which help create environmentally friendly and sustainable growth of vegetables and plants.
Permaculture is a food production system which mimics how vegetables and plants grow in natural ecosystems. The techniques used in permaculture include growing grains and vegetables without ploughing also known as tillage. each plant undertaking various purposes, herb and plant spirals, hügelkultur beds (a horticultural technique where a mound constructed from decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials is later (or immediately) planted as a raised bed.) and developing swales, shallow, flat bottomed, vegetated open channels designed to convey, treatand often attenuate surface water runoff.
Trees Can Increase Crop Yields
Agroforestry is a farming method which involves growing trees and shrubs amongst other plants and vegetables. It combines forestry and agricultural practices to guarantee a highly productive approach while also being a sustainable way to use land.
The system mimics forest ecosystems found in nature and it’s designed to comprise multiple layers of food forests. It includes perennial plants such as fruit trees, perennial herbs, mushrooms, and other vegetables on the ground level and underground root vegetables. Compared to traditional farming systems, agroforestry can double crop yields and significantly decreases the need for chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
Aquaponics & Hydroponics.
Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without using soil (i.e., soil-less).
Using Renewable Energy Resources.
Crop Rotation & Polycultures.
Polyculture is a form of agriculture in which more than one species is grown at the same time and place in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems. … There are many types of polyculture including annual polycultures such as intercropping and cover cropping, permaculture, and integrated aquaculture.
But as consumers what can we do?
The Farm to Fork Strategy is at the heart of the European Green Deal aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. But in simpler terms we need to
- Reduce waste,
- Eat seasonal produce,
- Eat locally grown produce,
I believe we should label the sustainability credentials on our food, like we have done with nutritional content, if we made people understand the food miles, if the product is sustainably grown or reared and the carbon footprint of the packaging, people could make better more informed choices and this is how we start to make positive change.