Concerned citizens in the Champlain Valley and elsewhere have made the connection that our activities on this planet are woven into the web of life.
Our actions can have serious repercussions both long-term and short-term if we’re not kind to each other.
Some of the worst offenders are present in the industrial food system. You’ve probably seen photos of manure lagoons on industrial livestock farms and the threats they can pose to their neighbor’s quality of life.
NPR has recently run a story on how an Iowa city is suing a farm over fertilizer run-off into the public water supply.
Lawsuits are one way to stop the madness. Enforcing the regulations in place and holding offenders accountable are another method.
Yet another way for improving soil and water conservation through voluntary cooperation.
Enter Agricultural Environmental Management
This program puts county soil and water conservation district specialists and farmers together to find ways that make healthy soil and clean water a priority for neighbors while still providing a valuable farm food service to the community at large.
The Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) is a voluntary, incentive-based program that helps farmers operate environmentally sound and economically viable businesses.
Perfect timing for environmental collaboration
It’s a 5-tier program that over time will help us identify solutions to address any environmental concerns at the outset and as we grow as an operation.
As our farm is still in its infancy this allows us to be proactive in our stewardship.
The AEM program plans are designed and developed with our farms’ mission, goals, and objectives in mind which is awesome.
They understand that plans can change over time and they are a resource that we can go to for that kind of collaboration.
In turn AEM can link us to other programs that offer both financial and technical assistance through various state and national farm service agencies.
Other Nearby Programs
Across the lake in Vermont, similar programs and initiatives are in place to improving soil and water quality.
Here’s a recent clip from UVM’s Across the Fence talking about this same issue:
The Best Ecology
Honestly, having a local resource that works alongside us in developing this plan seems to good to be true. I’m really looking forward to the program and the benefits that it offers to our community and our farm.
Our farm plans have always been centered around a main idea: that sustainability and the best ecology makes for the best economy.
Everyone should enjoy clean water.
It all just makes sense in the grand scheme… and in the farming journey!
- Split Rock Wildway: A Critical Wildlife Corridor (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Area Farms Serve NYC through Vermont Sail Freight Project (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Why I Give to Lakeside School (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Winter is a Time for Reflection (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)