When I think of summer, visions of watermelon, tomatoes, berries, cherries, cucumbers, corn peppers and peaches make me hungry and happy. For all of us who have tried successfully or not to grow our own produce, we should have tons of appreciation for those whom this is their vocation. Spring and summer herald the opening of farmer’s markets with all their eye candy that tastes just dandy. So who do we have to thank for farmers markets? Um, FARMERS! It is their labor of love, toil, care for their crops and the soil that allows us to purchase and partake of the yield from their field.
The farming community makes up <2% of the US population
98% of farms are owned by
- Family partnerships
- Family corporations
So farms are truly a family affair demonstrating care for their workers, crops, and land and bringing their products to market to share with consumers.
Farmers are stewards of the seed, their soil, their plants and the earth. They must understand crop science, utilizing science to help them know more about how to optimize what they choose to grow. Therefore, we need to be ag-vocate, being grateful and thankful to farmers for what they do, embracing technology to help with sustainability and nutrition quality.
Agriculture has made many advances to combat some of the impact of climate change and increased demand. These advances have led to:
- Improved nutrition quality
- Increased crop productivity
- Greater resistance to insect damage
- Immunity to plant diseases
- Longer shelf life
- Improved flavor
- Improved availability
- Greater affordability
In addition, the efforts of the farming community have resulted in
- Decreased use of water, fertilizer, pesticides
- Decreased impact on ecosystems
- Increased worker safety
Strategies such as Climate Start is a smart way for farmers to control what they can and be proactive while increasing proficiency and efficiency.
- Crop rotation
- Cover crops
- No Till farming
- Higher yield seeds
- Precision Nitrogen Use
- Enhanced water efficiency
All of these strategies can help to reduce carbon footprint and also the environmental footprint to help with conservation and preservation of natural resources.
So as you bite into that juicy peach, sit down to savor that tomato in your caprese salad, grab a handful of cherries, or your first corn of the season, do say thank you to those who #feedtheneed. And next time you go to a farmers market, do acknowledge and appreciate all the hard working men and women who bring the fruits and vegetables of their labor from their fields to our plates. #haveaplant