Everyone knows that sustainable foods are better for the environment and that the lack of pesticides and antibiotics make them a safer choice for humans, too. However, buying from sustainable farms has invisible, indirect benefits on entire communities of people. Here are 3 non-obvious reasons to support sustainable farms:
1. It Helps Small Businesses
Factory farms are large operations, and family farms are becoming more scarce every day. So much so that over an acre of farmland in the United States is re-appropriated for development every single minute. Farms that operate as small businesses are on the decline, and the future looks even more grim. Since the average age of farmers nowadays is 55, it may soon be impossible to find foods that didn’t come from a factory farm if we don’t start voting with our dollars by making sustainable choices.
2. It Preserves Rural Communities
Another downside of factory farms is that they often have a monopoly on the grocery market. Studies have demonstrated that when these large, corporate farms move into rural communities, the local economy is negatively effected. Not only does their proximity and pollution reduce property values, but the local businesses can’t meet all the orders from the larger company. This means others will need to truck in supplies from elsewhere, resulting in significantly increased traffic without benefits for the community.
3. It Protects Workers
Buying sustainable foods also supports businesses who treat their employees well. Working on a factory farm can be hazardous, since ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide are released in large quantities. To add insult to injury, these employees are paid minimum wage or are extremely underpaid because they are migrant workers.