A commercial, self-sustaining, sustainable agriculture is a farming model that incorporates a wide variety of agricultural practices and practices to manage pests, weeds, and other stresses in order to provide a good quality of life for the farmer.
A commercial farming model requires a large and diverse farm, which is a significant challenge when it comes to growing crops, since a commercial farm can only produce enough food to feed a family of five, which has to be spread out over an entire year.
The more variety in the land, the better for farmers, as the variety and the size of the land allows for the development of the crops to grow and to be able to withstand climate change, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Security Department states.
But, there are still some areas where a commercial farming system is still better than a traditional agricultural system.
“It takes a very good understanding of where the food is coming from and what it is going to be like, and it also takes a good understanding and a knowledge of the climate and the conditions that exist on the land,” says Joe O’Neill, founder of the nonprofit Central Coast Agri-food Cooperative.
“A commercial farm, in this case, means that there’s not a lot of management that’s required in terms of how it’s grown, but it’s got to be sustainable in terms, you know, growing it on the same land.”
O’Neil started the Central Coast Food Cooperative in 2015, and in 2018 he founded the Central coast Sustainable Agriculture Alliance, which promotes the use of organic farming methods and practices in Central Coast agri-businesses.
Central Coast farmers are growing the food that is their livelihood, O’Malley says, adding that his group’s members have grown their operations to around 2,500 acres, and they have planted more than 6,000 varieties of crops.
The alliance’s goal is to help farmers achieve their goal of producing a higher quality of food while also improving their own land and their own climate and land resources.
“The biggest challenge is going through this process of transitioning to organic farming, and that requires a lot more investment in the farming, but that also requires a long-term commitment to the land and in the management,” O’Mara says.
“So that’s the big challenge for us is to make sure we are putting all of that in place so that we can sustainably produce a quality product, and we can provide that to our customers.”
Omer, a Central Coast farmer, says that with a sustainable agriculture model, he is able to make his products more affordable to consumers.
“They can afford the higher price point and they can afford to buy a lot less,” he says.
Omer is a co-owner of O’Leary’s Farm in O’Fallon, California.
The farm’s produce is grown using organic practices, including rotating and growing the crops and using anaerobic farming methods, which help to keep the soil moist, Omer says.
The farmer is also able to sell his produce to grocery stores, restaurants, and restaurants in the area, and Omer and O’Mahoney are planning to expand their operations into the future.
Central coast farmers can see the impact that their farms can have in the local economy, Ouellette says.
They can increase their incomes and their ability to support their families.
Central California farmers can also make money with their own products and reduce their reliance on the farm.
“If I can get more of my produce into stores and into restaurants, it gives me a greater incentive to be a good employee, to be self-sufficient, to keep doing what I love and doing what the food I’m producing is good for the environment,” Ouellett says.
With so many options for farmers to make money and keep their families afloat, it is important for them to be conscious of the impact of the food they are producing, and not just in terms to the consumer.
“There are a lot people that want to be farmers, but the market is very different than what you want to buy your food in,” Oiellett says, “and the farmer’s livelihood is very important to them.”
Photo by Marnie Ouellet.