Supporting your local farm by purchasing their food (at their farmstand, via a share in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or from your local grocer) not only delivers fresh-picked produce to your table, it can actually be a tool in fighting climate change.
In fact, eating locally – often seen as the main benefit of a “farm to your table” food supply – is only part of the story.
Supporting local farms help keep them economically viable, and the fewer acres of farmland lost to development the better the chance that healthy soil will lead to the absorption of harmful carbon dioxide. It can be a powerful strategy for reducing greenhouse gases.
Think of it this way: strawberries trucked from California cause the emission of greenhouse gases along the way. A local strawberry from a CSA not only likely tastes better, it eliminates the impact of transportation and the use of plastic packaging.
Local farms are also more likely to practice sustainable agriculture which include soil conservation and more limited use of chemical fertilizers.
The science is straightforward: “Farmland can act as a natural carbon ‘sink’ by absorbing vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in plants and soil,” according to the American Farmland Trust. The healthier and more fertile the soil, the more carbon it can store.
A Boston-based startup, Indigo AG, believes properly managed farmland can suck one trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the air, and plans to pay farmers to implement sustainable agriculture. More farms mean more soil, and the healthier and more fertile the soil, the more carbon it can store.
Conserving farmland is a leading priority for Greenbelt. Mehaffey Farm in Rowley and Leonhard Farm in North Andover are two examples of farmland permanently protected by Greenbelt in recent years. This spring, Greenbelt worked with landowners and the city of Haverhill to forever preserve the 26-acre Anton Farm with a Conservation Restriction. And currently, Greenbelt is working with the Town of West Newbury and fundraising to permanmently protect the 10-acre Brown Spring Farm.
So while enjoying the freshness of produce from your local farms, also savor the positive impact it’s having on the planet.
Greenbelt is grateful to several professional and staff photographers whose work is featured prominently within our website.
Thank you Jerry Monkman / ecophotography.com, Lynne Holton, Kindra Clineff, Adrian Scholes and John Raleigh.