2016 Theme "Agriculture: Stewards of a Healhy Planet"
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.
Farmers are often called the original stewards of the land. But the contribution of agriculture to a clean environment extends beyond their fields, pastures, and barnyards.
This year’s theme for National Ag Day and Farm-City Week captures the global impact of farmers’ stewardship. “Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet” speaks to both the universality of efforts by farmers to protect the environment and the work they are doing to improve conservation and sustainability.
Air, water, soil, plants, and animals are all part of healthy ecosystems. Farmers are the caretakers of these resources. Today’s farm and forestry practices are reducing wind and water erosion, improving soil fertility, creating wildlife habitat, preserving biodiversity, and enhancing animal and plant health. But there’s more to a healthy planet than just the environment.
Farmers are also stewards of human health. Agriculture today is more productive and efficient than ever before. Each farmer feeds about 155 people using less land and fewer resources. Thanks to new varieties and technologies farmers are producing larger quantities of more nutritious foods and have accepted the challenge to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050.
We cannot have a healthy planet with hungry people. Poverty and desperation can cause people to abandon sustainable practices in the effort to feed their families. Agriculture is combatting this by increasing production and developing genetically superior varieties that are drought resistant and fortified with key vitamins and nutrients.
Whether its farming’s contributions to biomedical research and hunger relief or the health benefits of lean meat and nutritious fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, there are countless ways agriculture enhances the health of our planet.