Sustainable A to Z
Heirlooms varieties are passed down through generations of gardeners and farmers who harvest and save seeds. Their colors, flavors, shapes and sizes reflect a spectrum of biodiversity that has been threatened by industrial agriculture (today hybrids are bred to be consistent in appearance and easy to ship). Only a fraction of the food plants that were grown commercially a hundred years ago are still around. The genetic richness of heirlooms developed over thousands of years is both a protection against blight and disease and a natural legacy for future generations.
The term “artisanal” implies that products are made by hand in small batches, but the term is unregulated and sometimes used by large manufacturers.
Biodynamic farming views the farm as a living organism. In addition to organic practices such as crop rotation and composting, biodynamic farmers rely on special plant, animal, and mineral preparations and the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets, and stars. The term is not regulated, but some biodynamic products are certified by Demeter Association.
This unregulated term suggests that eggs are laid by hens permitted to roam in the henhouse (but not necessarily with any access to the outdoors).
Farmers market info, urban homesteading links, and food access organizations. Find it here.
CUESA's Sustainability Frameworks
These documents spell out guiding principles and best practices in sustainable food production.