Dear Friends and Supporters of NSAS,
Today is Giving Tuesday. We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. Today charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity & to give. On this day, we would like to share a little bit about NSAS & sustainable agriculture.
Probably the most often asked question I get about sustainable agriculture is “what is it?” The questioners, usually prepared to defend their approach to agriculture, are often surprised to hear my answer. First I believe that most farmers have the desire to be sustainable; that is they wish to be able to continue what they are doing indefinitely. To do so indefinitely means that sustainability needs to be exemplified not only environmentally, but also in terms of productivity, economically, and socially in terms of health and well-being of the farmers and their communities. Further, sustainability in agriculture is better described as a journey than a destination. No one can be sure what practices will be sustainable in the long run. However, there are concepts that need to be addressed.
Sustainable agriculture begins with a set of values that include such things as productive soil, clean water, a reasonable income, healthy lifestyle, nutritious food, a diverse environment, and an appreciation of biological systems, community, and future generations. The journey to sustainability is determined to increase the positive impacts to these values and decrease the negatives.
Let’s consider the human factor. Sustainable agriculture has a high regard for the health and happiness of the farmer, the health of the consumer, the viability of passing a farming operation to the next generation, and the impact to the community. These values set the parameters as to how food is produced and the quality of that food. Probably the first step in the journey towards sustainability in this area is the recognition that we are producing food as opposed to commodities. Even further we might consider that we are producing human nutrition.
In 2014 the journey with NSAS continued and expanded. We held numerous workshops, meetings, and events to provide a helping hand on this journey. We celebrated our 38th anniversary at the annual meeting in February. Over 300 people attended the 2 day conference held in Kearney. We also completed our 6th Farm Beginnings Nebraska course. In the spring we once again began our Nebraska Young Farmer Nights. We held the Young Farmer Nights across Nebraska. From Gering to Omaha we held over 20 Young Farmer Nights and had over 850 people attend. We held our first Producers Choice Chef Award in Omaha featuring #5LocalChefs who have been recognized by you, the farmers and advocates for local foods as being exemplary in promoting local foods.
NSAS also participated in numerous activities on a regional and national scale including participation in farmer fly-ins to Washington D.C. to talk farm bill with our elected representatives. This also included working with the Women, Food and Agriculture Network on workshops geared for women landowners in Nebraska. We have had the NSAS booth at numerous events including, National Young Farmers conference, Farmer Veteran Coalition, Rivers and Wildlife Celebration, and Slow Food Nebraska to name a few; organized a Western Nebraska sustainable agriculture conference; worked with the Nebraska Farmers Union, Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska, Slow Food Nebraska, University of Nebraska Organic Project, the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center, the Land Stewardship Project, the Center for Rural Affairs and Nebraska SARE.
Support for sustainable agriculture is increasing. The reach of NSAS continues to grow and expand. Our membership is state wide. For over 40 years we have relied on our members and supporters to carry on these tools for the journey and the good fight. As you consider giving this Giving Tuesday and this Holiday season please consider contributing to the work of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society.
Please visit, http://nebsusag.org/
join.shtml to find out how, as well as to join or renew your membership
Thank you for your support!
The Board and Staff of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society