Guest Post By: Victoria Ward
Now more than ever it’s important for us to reevaluate the way we do things. The past decade has brought a resurgence of media focused on social and environmental issues. Questioning conventional farming practices is a necessary step towards making sure we’re taking care of Mother Nature.
When it comes to farming, we need to look in ourselves and see if our methods are both ethical and sustainable. Some of us are doing everything we can to live organically and protect the environment. But in many cases, we can come up with better and more effective methods.
It’s only through the practice of self-evaluation that any real progress can be made. Especially now, when our farming methods have a significant impact on the earth. We need to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to preserve it and avoid negatively impacting future generations as a result of our decisions today.
What Does Ethical Farming Mean?
Ethical farming means different things to different people. To some, ethical farming practices comes from the fair treatment of employees. To others, ethical farming means the carbon footprint is not exorbitant or excessive. Still to most, ethical farming is the proper treatment of the animals or crops and the chemicals used.
It’s important to consider the fair treatment of workers who take part in the farming process. This includes fair pay that does not discriminate based on gender or race, healthcare availability, and safe working conditions.
Too often workers face unsafe conditions. These jobs are also typically low paying but have extremely rigorous work demands. With the amount of work expected, it should be a priority that they are taken care of by their employers in terms of healthcare, wages, and safety.
Other forms of ethical farming pertain directly to the practices of the farms themselves. How people are treating the animals should be a chief concern as well. Many times, the living conditions of the animals are abusive and cruel.
Most people don’t take the time to learn where their food comes from. With some research you can catch a glimpse of the farming industry and the way many of the animals are treated. Some of what you find may shock and appall you.
What Can I Do?
It’s hard to feel like you can make a difference when these corporations are as large as they are. However, there are many things you can do in order to live a life that supports ethical farming.
For starters, take the time to research different companies and brands. With food, just because they have a picture of animals in open fields on the box, does not mean that they actually practice ethical farming. Knowing where your food comes from is a large part in creating any sort of change.
Choosing local foods and farmers is a great way to support local businesses and to make sure that the foods you’re buying have been farmed ethically. Ask them questions too; many farmers want to share with others the importance of local farming businesses with ethical practices.
When it comes to ethical fashion, again, do research on the brands you buy. Many companies use harsh chemicals in the production of their clothing that is not only bad for you but is bad for the environment. Buying brands that are ethically sourced and produced is a great option, albeit more expensive.
Ethical farming practices have a significant amount of media focus. It’s important to realize that your voice matters now more than ever. In addition to doing research on what you buy and getting local foods, share what you learn with people.
Many consumers simply just don’t know where their food and clothing come from and we do not always want to put a face to the workers behind the products. When we humanize these industries, we realize how unethical many of these practices are.
Talking and informing others of ethical farming practices may encourage them to start learning where the food and clothing come from. This can create a chain reaction that helps to improve the world around us.
By Victoria Ward for www.sustainabilityactive.com