Farming is no longer just a way to survive or to provide a living for the farmer. It is an industry where many participants are deeply devoted to environmental protection and the improvement of life for others around the world. It may seem to those outside the industry that these lofty goals are more that the average farm can accomplish, but real-life examples of success do exist.
Deb Habib and Ricky Baruc built their farm, Seeds of Solidarity, with these purposes in mind. They describe how their mission changed in 1994 with a pilgrimage to the Middle East. Their goal was to pray in solidarity as they walked and chanted to help those suffering from the affects of many centuries of constant strife. In Iraq they saw how the lives of locals were disrupted by the harvesting of fossil fuels. This was the moment when they knew their lifestyle would be one of only sustainable practices.
Their farm was established in the 1980’s and used fossil fuels to operate. When they returned from the pilgramage they converted their electricity to solar energy and eliminated all fuel-powered machinery. The farm has operated in this manner for over 20 years since the pilgrimage took place. The pair even catch wildlife that enters the farm and relocate it to safer areas rather than take an innocent life.
Throughout the farm are sculptures, inspirational signs and altars to keep the pair, and any visitors, inspired in the cause. Sustainable living and farming practices are not unique to Habib and Baruc. Many farming communities are adjusting their practices to ensure the food they produce is healthy, but to also protect the land for future farmers and provide a better existence for the farm workers and farm animals.
It is a process that requires a lot of adjusting in order to create the right balance that produces enough food without resorting to practices that may corrupt the soil or pollute the water table. The focus is also on providing stability for families and communities that rely on the money the farm is able to earn as well as the food it produces. With approximately 40 percent of the population of the world working in some capacity in the agriculture industry, there is no way to overstate the importance of protecting this valuable industry. Sustainable farmers seek to prove that feeding the world is possible without poisoning the environment or modifying produce in laboratories.