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Commercial Horticulture > Comm Hort Blog > Posts > SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE FROM A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

We 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.

 Sustainableag.jpg

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[1].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 perspective.

 

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.

Ayanava Majumdar

Ext. Entomologist &

SARE Coordinator at AU

115 Extension Hall, Auburn University

Auburn, AL 36849

Website: 


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