Farms offer better food than factories

A&E Editor-Megan Ferrando's Headshot

Life is a big cycle. We live. We eat. We die. Then this process begins once more. But what happens when someone interferes with this cycle? It will still continue on but in a tarnished, depraved and less-whole way. 

To speak dramatically, this interference is precisely what the industrial food system is doing. They interfere with what we eat, and leave us, the environment and others to pay the price. Sustainable agriculture on the other hand strongly promotes producing food in a way that protects the environment, our health, and the community and animal welfare. This type of agriculture provides people with healthy foods, without compromising the ability for future generations to do the same.

Sustainable farms avoid synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other factors that degrade natural resources. Avoiding these practices also promotes human health because we are not consuming a load of fake and chemically manufactured toxins. Animals are cared for by being provided with room to roam and consume a natural diet. Not corn, like many cows eat these days, which by the way is not natural.

Today, the sad story is that many small sustainable farms were forced out of business by the large corporations that took over the farming industry. Most farms today, are industrial farms where synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides are relied upon. These farms became larger and more centralized. Some benefits of industrial farms include the speed and large quantity of production. I think I would rather eat from the slow, small quantity farms that I can trust with my food. 

If I look closely, America is beginning to recognize all the nasty ingredients used to make our food, and they don’t want that. Moving back to our local sustainable farms is one way that we can begin to move forward.

As college students, it is hard to know which health band-wagon to jump on. There are many organic crazes or juice cleanses taking over social media and the life of our favorite health-nut. Sustainable farming is more than that though. It is not about organic or inorganic. Sustainable farming is about a farm providing the needs of the consumers, enhancing the quality of life for farmers, making the most of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources, enhancing environmental quality and providing economic profitability. 

On our own campus, the Sustainability Center began a community garden. This garden provides students with the opportunity to actually grow their own food.

 “We’re trying to stay chemical free and it’s a learning experience,” said Dan Miranda, grad assistant for the Sustainability Center.  “[We are] trying to stay as natural as possible by staying away from any kind of chemical, synthetic fertilizing or even pesticides.”

Anyone can be a part of this garden and this is one great way to move closer to sustainable eating. I believe our school can make even further positive motions by practicing the “farm to school” movement. This movement provides schools with produce from local farmers. It is a win-win situation where not only the farmer benefits, but also students can benefit by being provided with fresh food.

It is important to take small steps first, especially when you are dealing with the food industry. The first and foremost important step to take when deciding where you should get your food from is to educate yourself. Watch documentaries, read books, read articles. Learn what you are putting in your body and then decide what, if anything, you want to do about it.

It can be as simple as buying form the local farmer’s market in downtown Hammond on Saturday mornings.

We don’t always have control of what goes on in our lives, but we have some control of where we get our food from and how clean that food is. Eating from sustainable farms will make a difference that we will notice.