All farming, like all politics, is local. But some changes and challenges
are so big they impact everybody, with your local conditions determining
how soon and how much you can respond.
The uncertain adjustments to more scarce—and more expensive—fossil
fuels will ripple through agriculture and food economics for years
to come. If the blip of high oil prices during the Carter years
(1977-1981) boosted sustainable agriculture as a cost-saving alternative,
imagine what will happen in the context of global warming, mainstream
organics and tremendous advances in ecologically sound farming systems.
Per-acre costs for corn relying on purchased inputs for fertility
and pest protection are up sharply this year, skewing what used
to make sense on enterprise budgets. It’s a great time to
explore cover crops that supply
nitrogen and build soil.
When driving becomes too expensive to do casually, we’ll
all re-think how we grow, transport,
process and buy food. One futurist with a long
history of assessing the limits of our global resources believes
local food will become commonplace, and the ‘burbs will
be re-fashioned as they become increasingly unsustainable.
While the strict rules for using manure on U.S. organic farms
offer much more protection than its unregulated use on other farms,
organic farmers shouldn’t
be importing just any manure—even though
organic rules would allow them to. What’s injected into
your neighbor’s cattle or fed to her confinement chickens
ends up in that manure, so it pays to ask questions.
Got thoughts….about our Farm
Locator? We’ll reward you with a Rodale Book
Store discount if you share them with us. If your farm or food-buying
business is listed on the Farm Locator, click
here. If you're not listed, but have used the Farm Locator to
find farmers and/or businesses, click