Sustainable Agriculture - Knowing Where Your Food Comes From

Every day we turn on the news and hear another alarming story about the condition of our environment, the diminishing of our natural resources and the repercussions of the unhealthy lifestyle that has become the norm in America.

There is a movement spreading across the country that is attempting to at least stop the further destruction of our soil, water and air while providing our country with healthy, responsibly grown food. If you are interested in the culinary arts you have probably already discovered the appeal of a local farmers market with its wide variety of fresh organic foods. An important trend in California cooking is purchasing ingredients that were produced using sustainable farming methods. Sustainable agriculture is not just a particular method of farming rather it is a philosophy of nourishing and respecting people and animals today while preserving our natural resources so that future generations will be able to sustain themselves tomorrow.

What is Sustainable Farming?
Because sustainable farmers replace every resource that they use, they are able to continue to produce indefinitely. This is the whole philosophy behind sustainable farming. These farmers rely solely on renewable resources and make a conscious effort to do no harm to the environment and to work in harmony with the surrounding community. In an effort to get away from factory farming, sustainable farmers are committed to providing fair wages, a humane environment for their livestock, protecting the environment and farming free of any pesticides, hormones or antibiotics.

Why Sustainable Farming?
Over the last 70 years America has become dependent on factory farms whose philosophy is to produce the most amount of product with the least amount of resources at the expensive of the well being of livestock and the wholesomeness of the food they produce. Animals are confined in such small spaces that they are unable to engage in their natural behaviors.  Their waste ends up not only making the livestock sick but contaminates the air, ground and water as well. Because of the unsanitary conditions, animals are given large doses of antibiotics. This in turn makes these antibiotics less effective for both animals and humans to ward off infectious diseases.

Also, to make animals mature faster they are administered hormones or are subjected to genetic engineering and we are only just beginning to understand how harmful this is to both the animals and the humans that consume their meat and dairy products. Another negative effect of factory farming is mad cow disease. This illness can be transferred to humans that eat contaminated meat and it is incurable and fatal.

Why Buy Sustainably Produced Products?
Products that are raised using natural, sustainable methods not only taste better but they are more nutritious as well. California cooking is known for its grass fed beef which is much higher in omega-3 fatty acids and vegetables grown organically that are often 50%-100% more nutritious than their factory farm counterparts. Not only is the food more nutritious and fresher but you will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the food you eat was raised without hurting the environment or causing unnecessary suffering. For all these reasons, sustainable products is a great way to express your love of the culinary arts.

Every year more and more small family run farms are disappearing because they cannot compete with the industrial giants we have come to rely on for cheap mass produced food. These sustainable farmers are a symbol of our agricultural past as well as a symbol of our future. Factory farming will eventually exhaust our national resources while spreading disease and destroying our environment, but if we can make a conscious effort to purchase locally grown organic foods we can not only improve our health today but ensure that future generations will have the ability to do so as well.

This article is presented by California Culinary Academy. California Culinary Academy offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in San Francisco, California. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit for more information. 

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