In the great battle we face in today’s modern age, leading sustainable lives is how we can stop the deterioration of our planet. Regardless of our income and standing in society, we can all play a massive part in minimizing our impact on our world to ensure we reduce the effects of climate change.
As individuals, we can do away with single-use plastic by opting for soap instead of bottled liquid soaps, investing in flasks to reduce the number of bottles of water we buy, and many other little things that have a considerable impact on our planet.
Our diet choices play a huge role in the fight against climate change. If we all reduce the amount of meat and meat products we incorporate into our diets, the planet will heave a sigh of relief.
We live in a world where plant-based options are readily available, and they taste incredible. Not only that but these vegan products are packed with nutrients that can help us lead healthier lives. Soy farmers know how nutrient-rich plant-based food is, especially soy.
Through their sustainable practices, these farmers are working to provide people with enough food while ensuring they do not cause more damage to the earth.
Is soy good for the environment?
Soy is a legume that stands out because it contains all the amino acids our body needs for a healthy and balanced diet. Generally, most of us get amino acids from meat and meat products, but soy and quinoa are unique in that they contain the same amino acids despite being plant-based.
Over the years, soy has garnered a bad reputation for a good reason. Farmers require a lot of land, water, and other resources to grow soy. When farmers grow soy for animal feed, the environmental impact is devastating.
Statistics show that seventy-seven percent of the soy farmers grow is for animal feed. This means more soil erosion, deforestation, and use of resources. In contrast, seven percent of the soy farmers grow is for human consumption (the rest is for manufacturing purposes, including making oil for machinery).
The short answer is yes, soy is bad for the environment if farmers grow it unsustainably to feed animals. However, if we all eat a more plant-based diet, farmers would need less soy to feed animals to cater to the meat market.
Doing our part and eating more plant-based meals is critical to bettering the planet. Still, as is evident from the U.S. Soy’s latest news, soy farmers prioritize sustainable practices to ensure their business does not deteriorate the earth. The following are five ways farmers are prioritizing sustainable practices.
1. Prevent soil erosion
One of the top priorities for sustainable soy farmers is to prevent soil erosion. Sustainable farmers ensure they care for the soil by avoiding or minimizing tillage. The latter is when farmers plow the earth. Traditionally, farmers would plow the soil to prevent weeds from growing.
The problem with this practice is that soil loss is inevitable. Sustainable farmers do away with plowing and plant seeds in undisturbed soil to protect the earth.
2. Embrace biodiversity
Sustainable soy farmers know that growing the same crops in the soil is unhealthy for the earth, so they have embraced biodiversity. Rather than adhering to the demands of the production line, sustainable soy farmers respect the earth by embracing biodiversity and growing different crops at different seasons.
In doing so, they enrich their soil with other minerals and nutrients, making it healthier and more resilient when it is time to grow soy again.
3. Avoid pesticides
The use of chemicals and pesticides is not suitable for our health as well as for the planet. Although sustainable soy farmers face the same challenges as traditional farmers when growing crops, they do not resort to pesticides. Instead, they work with a combination of biological and mechanical systems to minimize the invasion of crops.
4. Use other crops to help
Instead of using machinery or chemicals, sustainable soy farmers use other crops to help the land. Rye, hairy vetch, and clover are some of the cover crops these farmers use during the off-season so that the soil is not bare. In doing so, the earth gets more nutrients in its system, minimizing soil erosion.
5. Include agroforestry
Besides crops, sustainable soy farmers use trees to protect their land. Trees and shrubs provide shade for crops and help minimize water waste. Moreover, they can bring extra income if they are fruit trees.
Sustainable soy farmers are working hard to ensure that we have food while protecting the planet. As consumers, we must support these farmers by choosing their products over soy that farmers do not grow through sustainable practices.
So when buying soy products, do your research. These days, a quick online search will tell you all about the product you are buying and whether the soy used is sustainable. We can all do our part to protect the planet, and the fact that we can do so through our diet choices makes it much easier to accomplish.