Smaller farms generally take greater care of their environmental impact, because they produce less massive quantities than larger farms. That’s why its a good idea to purchase from local farms, (i.e. farmer’s markets) who stray from using pesticides and have not shipped their produce from hundreds of miles away.
Absolutely. Small farms reduce the problems caused by monocultures, which are huge swaths of land covered by a single crop, like wheat or corn. These types of field pull the same nutrients out of the soil year after year, until there are none left. They also make more of one type of food than anyone needs, which leads to the addition of totally unnecessary ingredients like corn syrup to just about everything. Small farms also seem to be easier to manage organically, because the farmer can tend to all the crops him or herself, instead of just spraying out a bunch of insecticides. Finally, with small farms and varied crops, there are fewer pests to begin with, because most species can’t jump from, say, tomatoes to beans. Plus, if there is some wild space around the farm, birds and small mammals that live there will take care of many of the insects.
For more information about the benefits of running a small farm, check out Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.
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