WHAT IS 'SUSTAINABLE' AND WHY SHOULD I CARE? To live sustainably is to meet our needs in the present without harming the ability of those in the future to meet their needs.

Modern society has often not considered the effects of its actions on future generations. Many of us are taking a second look at this; just because something is available for our use does not mean it is right or good for us to use it up. For example, the herbs echinacea and goldenseal have become known for their effectiveness, and have been harvested to the point of being at risk. What will we do when we no longer have these medicines? What will people in the future do? If we at Little Stone Remedies are not able to grow the herbs we need, we buy ingredients that are sustainably harvested. In the case mentioned above, the herbs are farmed organically, rather than taken from their habitat and risking their extinction. (To learn more, please see the link to United Plant Savers.)

Love it Local! Shopping locally builds strong communities. Supporting locally owned business creates interesting, vital and personal communities. We use fewer resources. We support our local economy and infrastructure. We get to know our neighbors. We learn about one another and care about one another. It's a good feeling.

Remember the future: "The Peacemaker taught us about the Seven Generations. He said, when you sit in council for the welfare of the people, you must not think of yourself or of your family, not even of your generation. He said, make your decisions of behalf of the seven generations coming, so that they may enjoy what you have today." Oren Lyons, Seneca

WHAT IS ORGANIC, AND WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? Simply put, organic means the absence of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and the absence of genetically modified organisms.

Organic is not always sustainable, and sustainable is not always organic. For some farmers the cost and complexity of becoming "certified organic" is prohibitive. For others, the waiting period has not yet passed (this can be 3 to 5 years). Your neighbor selling tomatoes at the farmer's market is probably doing everything organically and sustainably, but may not have earned the designation "certified organic".  Often times in grocery stores these foods will be labelled "unsprayed".

So, the rules are stringent, but fair, and they are in place to protect the public. Yet, it occasionally happens that farmers do everything right, but there is no protection for them. A farmer can do his/her best to farm organically, yet no farm is an island. Organic farms have been contaminated by spraying of chemicals nearby; the organic farmer lost his/her certification, and we the people have lost a supply of healthy, organic food.  Some farmers whose crops were wind-contaminated by genetically modified seed have been sued and put out of business by the corporation which produces that genetically modified seed.

Food grown organically is usually more nutritious because the natural inputs (compost, manure, etc) contain trace minerals found in nature; trace minerals which our bodies need and are lacking in chemical fertilizers. Waste products are recycled as compost in organic/sustainable agriculture, rather than taking up space in landfills. The fertilizers used in organic farming tend to enrich the soil, increasing its health, longevity &productivity; chemical fertilization tends to deplete soil over time, until it eventually becomes barren (this is referred to as "mining the soil"). Organic and sustainable farming present no harm to birds, insects and other wildlife; in fact organic farms often become happy habitats for our animal neighbors. There is no harm done to the water supply.

The risks to people and wildlife that come from genetically modified crops are only beginning to be fully understood, and the implications are profound. There have been terrible economic, social, personal and ecologic effects resulting from genetically modified agriculture, and the corporations that control it. The problems are too many to elaborate here, but I urge everyone to learn what they can as it is one of the most important issues of our time; our food supply is becoming increasingly at risk.

"If we don't get sustainability in agriculture first, sustainability will not happen." Wes Jackson