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are all familiar with the term ‘sustainable agriculture’ - it has broad meaning
and is open to interpretation from various sources. Over the past decade, entry
of large companies (along with mergers and acquisitions) has resulted in new
products and services available for the sustainable farming industry. While
reviewing some new and old definitions of sustainable agriculture, I came
across a food industry-sponsored website that has got sustainable agriculture divided
into achievable steps using experience from international agriculture. The
website is called ‘Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform’ and it can be
found at www.saiplatform.org.
SAI Platform has been active since 2002 when it was initiated by
Nestle, Unilever, and Danone as an information sharing platform for a global
audience. SAI Platform today has over 60 members that include all popular food
processors and distributors. The triangular illustration shows the three
‘pillars’ of sustainability defined by the industry which include
environmental, economic and social sustainability. Visit http://www.saiplatform.org/uploads/Modules/Library/whatissustainableagriculture-2.pdf
to see the three pillars of sustainability (Profit, Stewardship and Quality of
Life) and a nice interpretation from the industry perspective with case studies
from the food industry (http://www.saiplatform.org/uploads/Library/short_guide_to_sa_-_final.pdf).
SAI Platform also provides a breakdown of sustainable production practices
for crops worldwide using various objectives for the whole farm system (http://www.saiplatform.org/uploads/Library/PPsArableVegetableCrops2009-2.pdf).
SAI platform also categorizes global food production standards based on
a market study. For example, in the USA, we have the following sustainable agriculture
standards (may sound familiar to many readers):
Whole Farm Sustainability Standards: Protected Harvest,
Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard, Food Alliance, and
Sustainable Agriculture Practice Standard
Organic Standard: USDA National Organic Program
Food Safety Standard: Safe Quality Food
Again, the best part of SAI is that they took a few pages out of the
SARE Program and their official descriptions of sustainable/organic agriculture
to create consistency instead of divergence from accepted norms. Visit any of
the website links mentioned herein for more information about some unique
challenges and opportunities for organic crop production from a global
Remember, the Alabama SARE website is always at your service and it can
be found at http://www.southernsare.org/SARE-in-Your-State/Alabama.
Alabama Extension’s Commercial Horticulture Team is committed to assist all
producers and more information can be found at www.aces.edu.
Disclaimer: This article is only
a recommendation for information source. This article is not an endorsement of
the companies involved or their products/services.
Coordinator at AU
Extension Hall, Auburn University
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