The core of our mission in all aspects of this farm and farming is to preserve the ways of the past while honoring mother nature.
So reads the mission statement of Stoney Mountain Farm in Burlington, North Carolina, an organization that strives to perhaps revolutionize farming by simply reverting to older, less technologically advanced methods. As opposed to many green farming technologies and developments to keep up with the changing world, the methodical approach of Stoney Mountain is to simply revert back to times when greater forces than technology – like nature – had control.
The farm allows old Mother Nature to take control of much that governs activity on its grounds. The fields and pastures are not intensively plowed or even mowed. The animals are not fed any hormones or medications. They only worm as needed, and plant a variety of herbal remedies around their grounds, which the animals are naturally drawn to when they instinctively need it.
These methods prove extremely important not only to the environment, but to Stoney Mountain’s main revenue stream. The farm specializes in 100% all natural wool products for consumers, offering a wide variety of felting kits, wool dryer balls and kits, and even eco-friendly wool cat toys. Also, what is extremely unique is Stoney Mountain’s ability to produce and provide roving, batts, and yarns of over 20 natural colors.
All of this, we believe, and all that Stoney Mountain Farm stands for, is great in all its simplistic glory. Few words can sum up our reasoning for loving Stoney Mountain more than its own words:
Through these practices, we believe we offer beautiful venues for our guests and the best quality products with healthy, happy livestock
While browsing the Internet this morning, I discovered an interesting article on the impact of the food industry on the environment. This article features commentary by Arlin Wasserman, Chair of the Sustainable Business Leadership Council at the Culinary Institute of America. Wasserman acknowledges the food industry’s inability to show environmental improvement, its lack of transparency, and the failure of some leading companies to alter the status quo. He states that these issues create an incongruence with both the younger generation and the overall population, who are becoming more enlightened regarding the need to grow and harvest food in a more soundly manner.
This article lists some very relevant statistics regarding the agricultural industry:
- Farming and ranching accounts for 40% of arable land in the world.
- Farming and ranching uses 30% to 70% of fresh water.
- Approximately 50% of greenhouse emissions can be attributed to farming and ranching.
- Second only to oil, coffee is one of the most valuable legally traded commodities worldwide.
- Half of the food produced globally is wasted due to improper harvesting and storage.
A major concern voiced by Wasserman is the change that has taken place regarding consumers’ relationship with food consumption and preparation. We now rely on restaurants, carryouts and delicatessens for the majority of our meals. This phenomenon results in fewer people even knowing how to cook or being informed about the sources of food or the ingredients used in meal preparations.
With his work with the Culinary Institute of Art, Mr. Wasserman aims to address problems with the food industry. This organization strives to implement better decisionmaking about health, selection of food and our relationship and impact on the environment . Hopefully, with the help of emerging associations such as Culinary Institute of Art, we can live green, be green.
We all are aware of the breaking environmental news regarding current drought conditions in the United States. Presently, more than half of the United States is suffering from the worst drought conditions since the Dust Bowls, the last of which occurred 50 years ago. We are witnessing wilted crops, particularly corn, dried-out, cracked soil and devastating forest fires caused by parched woodlands. It is important to note that the current drought levels have not reached those of the Dust Bowl where 63% of the country experienced severe drought; however, today’s statistics do place this occurrence in the top 10% for the past century.
Comparisons of statistics for severe droughts in the 1930’s and 1950s have resulted in some assumptions, especially by some politicians and talking heads that the current drought is not caused by global warming. One such argument notes that carbon emissions were lower in the 30s than they are today, so the problem must have been due to some other natural occurrence. Tree-ring data often have been cited to suggest that North American droughts are part of a natural cycle tied to La Nina events. Environmental scientists now are compiling compelling evidence that rising temperatures are making droughts more common, and this phenomenon is less likely attributable to natural causes.
The primary focus now must be on measures to address the problems of climate change. John Antler of Montana State University has published a paper, which proposes that the government shift policies to adapt to climate change, i.e., providing subsidies for crops such as corn and soy to prevent adaptation by locking in current farming patterns. (http://www.rff.org/news/features/pages/climate-change-forcing-farmers-to-adapt.aspx) Tom Philpott recommends a stronger push towards organic farming. Recent research concludes that while organic farming yields smaller crop production, the organic farming process holds retains more water and performs better during droughts (http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/07/what-organic-ag-teaches-us-about-feeding-ourselves-while-planet-heats).
Currently, the United States has not been impacted as severely as many other nations by drought and destruction of food supply. However, we see the effects of droughts in terms of increasing prices for food and increasing disasters, such as forest fires and parched land. Droughts are becoming difficult to avoid, and steps must be taken immediately to protect our land, population and food sources. Our very existence depends on this. To save our world, let’s live green, be green.
The Palmer Drought Severity Index mid-century. A reading of -4 or below is considered extreme drought. (Source: National Center for Atmospheric Research).