Portfolio of Allie Hoerth (2018)
When evaluating anything for sustainability, it is important to remember that sustainability isn’t something you have or you don’t – there are just ways to be more or less sustainable. To be fully sustainable, there are three categories of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental. Social sustainability deals with bettering the future generations, economic sustainability deals with becoming financially stable, and environmental sustainability deal with how it impacts nature. In order to create a successful sustainable system, all of these three criteria must be met. When visiting different agriculture systems in Mexico, I began to evaluate some of the systems based on their sustainability in each of the three categories.
I think the community of Agua Blanca is strong in environmental sustainability because of the way they use the poor land they were given to best support their community. With a high diversity of animals, they are about to better use the land for its natural resources by simply practicing and learning the balance the system they were given.
I found PROAN to be strong in the social and economic aspects of their sustainability. Socially, they create events for their workers and community to improve growth of the local people. By expanding their business, they create more jobs and opportunities for the future generations to gain employment. By having a vertically integrated system, they were able to decrease travel costs and ensure quality in their products that help their economic sustainability. Manuel Romo’s way of being able to continually invest to increase the overall wealth of company also aids in creating a system that is economically sustainable.
The vertical integration system in PROAN from the feed mill, to milk production and to creating packaging.
PROLEA Dairy Cooperative
I found PROLEA Dairy Co-op to be strong in the social and environmental aspects of their sustainability as well. By being able to help 517 members of the co-op, their system creates strong social sustainability to better the local community to become as productive as possible. The co-op also has a council that gives advice to farmers to better their systems, but the assembly of farmers have the final say. PROLEA helps supply concentrate mix, access to bulk tanks, storage of grain, heifer raising, and veterinary services to support their members, no matter the size of the operation. By pooling the communities resources together, it creates a more economically sustainable system to decreases the costs that each member separately would bear.
Las Joyas Biosphere Reserve
I found that the biosphere reserve excelled in their environmental sustainability. By preserving and conserving the land, they are creating a system that can be used as a carbon bank, a safe place for the corn ancestor, and allows nature to take its course after the land was used for agricultural use. This allows natural ecological succession to occur within the system. This shows that even if we think we manage our agriculture land to the best of our abilities, it seems the best was to be environmental sustainability is going with a system like this. The tradeoff is this system is lacking in social and economic sustainability.
Flor de Alfalfa Organic Jersey Dairy
I found the organic dairy farm to be strong in aspects of social and environmental sustainability. By having the ecotourism on their farm, they are able to inform the middle class about their food and how it is produced. By having an organic dairy farm, they are creating increasing their environmental sustainability by not using chemical fertilizers and insecticides. They also have a biogas generation system that uses manure, serum from the cheese factory, and washing water from milking parlor as fuel for a boiler to produce steam. By-products of the bio-digestor are also used for fields to create a better soil and bacterial diversity.