Friday, February 5, 2010

Sustainable Agriculture A-Z

What is Sustainable Agriculture?

lettuce_rowIn 2005, CUESA broadened its mission; in addition to supporting sustainable agrictulture as our name indicates, we are working to improve the sustainability of the entire food system. A food system is the inter-relationship of agricultural systems, their economic, social, cultural, and technological support systems, and systems of food distribution and consumption. A sustainable food system uses practices that are environmentally sound, humane, economically viable, and socially just. Sustainable agriculture uses these same practices.

CUESA’S Guiding Principles of Sustainable Agricultural Production

Environmentally Sound
Producers actively work to create and sustain cultivated landscapes that are complex, diverse and balanced biological systems. Producers use practices that conserve and restore resources.

Humane Animal Management
While being raised, animals are allowed to engage in the natural behaviors that are important to their well-being, and are harvested in ways that minimize stress to the animals and the environment.

Economically Viable
Producers operate within a framework of sound business planning and pursue integrated and proactive approaches to marketing and sales.

Socially Just
Producers and their employees receive fair and reasonable compensation and work in a safe and respectful environment.

Go Deeper
Each letter of our Sustainable Agriculture Alphabet highlights an important concept in sustainable food production and distribution. Under the arcades of the Ferry Building in San Francisco, this alphabet is part of CUESA's Sustainable Agriculture A to Z exhibit - a series of eight by eight foot photomurals that form the doors and walls to our education center. This exhibit was funded by the San Francisco Foundation and photos for the murals were generously donated by friends and colleagues. 

A - Animals Grazing J - Judicious Water Use S - Soil Building
B - Beneficial Bugs K - Kids Participating T - Targeted Fishing
C - Cover Crops L - Labor Rights U - Understanding Ecosystems
D - Direct Marketing M - Mulch V - Vine-Ripened
E - Ecological Mariculture N - Nitrogen Fixing W - Worker Health
F - Free Range O - Open Space X - eXtra Care
G - Growing Heirlooms P - Pollinators Y - Yielding Abundance
H - Habitat for Predators Q - Quality of Life Z - Zones that Buffer
I - Insect Pheromone Disruption R - Restoring Watersheds