As defined by Congress, sustainable agriculture is “an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will over the long term:
- satisfy human food and fiber needs;
- enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends;
- make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;
- sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and
- enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”
The Sustainable Agriculture Network discusses the concept in detail and introduces the viewer to many farmers who are striving to increase the sustainability of their operations. Their virtual sustainable farm lists several sustainable practices in a farm setting so you can begin to form your own opinion about the topic.
You can read a paper from the University of California identifying ideas, practices, and principles of its concept of sustainable agriculture.