A Sustainable Valentine

By Kristin Henderson, chief veggie conversationalist

At Seasonal Roots, we believe in that old saying, “You reap what you sow.” When you help local sustainable family farmers, you don’t just reap fresher, more delicious, nutritious food. You also reap a healthier environment.

Here’s why. The Flores Farm on Virginia’s Northern Neck is typical of the differences between small family farms we partner with and big corporate agriculture.

Gerardo Flores emigrated from Mexico more than 20 years ago. Now he and his son Omar farm 50 acres that are sustainably planted with an amazing variety of crops: herbs, greens, lettuces, root crops, and dozens of different peppers. That’s Gerardo pictured next to a row of his crops side-by-side with a field of wild flowers. Compare that to the factory farms of big corporate ag, which plant acres upon acres of land with the same thing. Out in California, those monocrop deserts stretch as far as the eye can see.

Nature doesn’t work that way. Neither does a small family farm that uses sustainable practices. Gerardo and Omar’s diverse plantings create more natural ecosystems that are good for our soil, water, and air. Their rich patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, and ponds are the perfect habitat for native plants and wildlife. That’s much better for our environment than monocrops or yet another suburban development.

In addition, grocery store produce typically travels 1,500 miles from where it’s grown to get to you. Gerardo and Omar’s locally grown harvest travels less than one-tenth that far. Shorter trips produce less pollution from transportation. And that’s good for the environment, too.

By choosing to buy local food from sustainable farmers like the Floreses, you’re helping them, the environment, and yourself. That’s like giving the whole planet a valentine!