Sustainable farming has gained a significant amount of popularity in recent years, but it’s more than just a buzzworthy trend. By engaging in sustainable farming practices, you can do your part to sustain our agricultural system, maintain the fertility of local soil, and reduce rates of water and air pollution. And whether you’re farming for personal use or for profit, a focus on sustainability can help ensure that your land is put to the best use possible, all without harming the planet it resides on.
Of course, starting a farm is never easy, even when you’re trying to keep things as natural as possible. Instead, a truly sustainable farm is something that most people achieve over time, with small improvements that add up to major impactful changes in the natural ecosystem.
Where to start then? Here are five ideas to incorporate into your sustainable farm, with helpful tips you can put to use right away and in the future as you expand your sustainability practices and create a truly eco-friendly farm.
- Invest in Renewable Sources of Energy
Farms require a lot of energy to function, but not all of that energy has to come from the commercial grid. Ditch the power lines and invest in solar panels for electricity, heating, and pumping. You can also minimize the pressure you put on the local water supply by switching to hydroelectric power for your various water needs.
- Plant More Trees
A lot of land on your farm will be dedicated to crops, but there’s good reason to make space for plenty of trees too. Agroforestry is a sustainable agriculture practice that uses trees to enhance soil health and maintain optimal air and water quality, so plant an abundance of perennial trees around your property, particularly in areas that are otherwise lacking.
- Rotate Your Crops
If you’ve done any digging into sustainable farming then you’re probably familiar with crop rotation, which is a technique that involves planting different crops in the same spots on a seasonal pattern. Doing so can create more efficiency and less waste, and is also considered one of the most eco-friendly ways to grow what you need.
- Think Outside the Soil
When you think of farms you probably think primarily of soil-based growth, but that’s not your only option. Innovations like hydroponics and aquaponics are smart alternatives and involve growing plants through nutrient-rich water – a practice that relies on fewer resources than going the traditional route. You don’t have to use these as your sole techniques, but it’s worth converting to at least some water-based systems.
- Let Your Animals Graze
Animals aren’t meant to live their entire lives in pens. Letting your animals graze not only improves their quality of life but improves the sustainability of your entire farm, helping you enrich the soil in your pastures and better conserve your grassland habitats. It also supports the growth of greater biodiversity on your property, letting new and rare plants flourish where they might otherwise not.
If you’re going to farm, why not do it sustainably? Start adopting more sustainable techniques into your farming practices, and discover firsthand how they can benefit you, your farm, your community, and the entire planet.
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