Since people typically make New Year's resolutions during this week, I thought it might be a good idea to make some farm related resolutions here.
And, since my purpose in creating this blog and writing about farming is to emphasize a sustainable food system, I thought I should try and make resolutions that will help to do this.
For starters, sustainable agriculture has some primary goals: environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity, so I think that my resolutions should somehow match these.
I am not a farmer, a producer, or even a food professional, but I am a consumer. And as a consumer, I (like you) have more power than I often think. How so?
One of the most basic ways to help meet the goals of creating a sustainable food system is through your purchases. According to the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, "Consumers can play a critical role in creating a sustainable food system. Through their purchases, they send strong messages to producers, retailers and others in the system about what they think is important."
So, first off when I shop, I resolve to make it clear that I don't want my food outsourced, I don't want my food processed, and I will do all that I can to support small sustainable farmers, so I will ask where my food comes from, who grew it, and how it was grown.
One way to do this is by buying locally whenever possible, which for me, means shopping at the farmers market. There, I can meet the people who grow my food and learn all about it.
I also have some other food resolutions that I have been thinking about for some time. First, I write about fruits and vegetables, and I really need to buy more of them, try more of them, and cook with them, this is a goal I have; to educate myself more on how to use the wonderful bounty we have in California. I also need to wean myself from my processed, junk food addictions, i.e. Cheetos and chips, a habit I have had since I was a kid, very tough to kick but I need to.
As for my other farm related resolutions, as a writer, I need to visit more farmers' markets and local farms to see what's new, what's available, in order to do a better job. Related to this is the goal of having more of my work about sustainable and local/urban agriculture published. So, hopefully my renewed focus here will help that.
Happy New Year to you all and may '08 be a great year for our local farms!