2015 Theme "Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations"
The purpose of Farm-City Week is to bring about a better understanding between rural and urban people by increasing their knowledge and appreciation of each other as partners in progress. Farm-City Week is celebrated each year beginning on the Friday prior to and ending on Thanksgiving Day.
Nurture, nourish, preserve — sustain. Perhaps no other occupation is more vital to sustenance than farming. Yet, today, many believe modern agricultural practices are at odds with sustainability.
The National Ag Day and Farm-City Week theme for 2015 tackles this misconception by challenging rural and urban folk alike to discover all the ways agriculture is “Sustaining Future Generations.”
At the most basic level, farming sustains life by providing food, shelter and clothing. Without agriculture, everyday life would be like popular survival shows on television. While the idea of making primitive fire, setting traps to catch game and gathering berries for food might sound appealing for a week (with a film crew and safety team nearby), few of us would choose that lifestyle permanently.
Farmers grow grain, fruit, vegetables, milk, honey, meat, poultry and fish for our meals. They produce cotton and other fiber for clothing, and they cultivate trees for lumber.
But agriculture sustains life in other ways as well. Farmers play key roles in the sustainability of natural resources. Modern agricultural practices reduce erosion, create wildlife habitat, conserve water resources and preserve wetlands. Rarely is the survivalist mentality focused on sustaining resources. Farmers, however, understand the soil, water and air are vital to their productivity. They sustain these resources because they’re dependent upon them for their livelihoods and because they have a deep respect for God’s creation.
Farming also sustains the economy. Agriculture and forestry have a $70 billion-a-year impact on Alabama’s economy, and related industries account for more than 20 percent of all jobs. Agriculture is the lifeblood of small towns and rural communities. It’s what sustains the banks, stores, equipment dealers and other small businesses. Without farming, many of these places would become ghost towns.
Agriculture, however, does more than preserve the status quo. It holds the answers to future challenges. Who will feed the estimated 9 billion people in the world by 2050? Farmers. Who will provide renewable energy solutions for the cars, homes and factories of tomorrow? Farmers. Who will provide the green space, wetlands and wildlife habitat we value ecologically, recreationally and aesthetically? Farmers. Who will grow crops that fight disease and prevent sickness? Farmers. And who will pass down the values of faith, family, hard work and stewardship to future generations? Farmers.
Sustainability isn’t a fad, movement or marketing ploy. It’s a way of life for farmers.