It is a term that varies greatly depending on who is defining it. My perspective has been shaped in part by my work as a land care professional and as an educator. I define sustainability in terms of stewardship—of land and of people.
In order to live sustainably, consider the three elements that make up sustainability and their interconnectedness. The National Network for Sustainable Living Education (NNSLE) has identified these three elements in terms of social, economic, and environmental issues.
They define each one as the following:
Social equity and fairness in the creation of vibrant community life, both locally and globally.
Economic sustainability as maintaining or increasing our standard of living without decreasing that of others.
Environmental sustainability mandates conserving and managing our ecosystems for future generations. (NNSLE: “A Vision for Relevance,” Feb. 14, 2008)
As an urban farmer, I intend to practice sustainable agriculture not only to raise the freshest, most nutrient-packed vegetables available but also to personalize the process of growing. At the same time I want to reduce the inputs required to bring vegetables from the field to one’s table. I hope my personal and professional redirection will encourage others to grow as individuals on a personal path towards their own definition of sustainability.