Making the Case for Smaller Farms
Thinking about small farms can evoke a sense of nostalgia for the days when humans were intimately connected to the natural world. When, before the age of industrial farming, we lived on our own land, knew exactly where our food came from, how it was grown, and who cultivated them. These days, with the ease of online shopping, supermarkets and home deliveries, it’s easy to forget just how much we still depend on this connection to the land for our health and daily needs. Nevertheless, small farms remain just as essential as ever in our modern lives. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that small farms have to offer.
- Smaller farms promote diversity and nutrition – which are beneficial for human health. As smaller farms tend to plant more than one crop at a time and diversify crop species, there is greater genetic diversity and therefore more diverse nutrients. As a result, these farms produce higher quality and more nutrient-rich produce for our use and consumption.
- Smaller farms promote a better environment and reduce negative environmental impacts. By default, smaller farms consume fewer resources – natural, human, and financial. Not only that, small, diverse farms help to support the biodiversity of surrounding ecosystems, which in turn improves soil health and ensures that these farming systems are more resilient to pests and natural disasters compared to large-scale industrial farms. Buying produce directly from smaller local farms also helps to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting goods across countries and continents.
- Smaller farms are more flexible when it comes to adopting alternative agricultural practices. They could practice, for instance, organic agriculture, agroecological approaches, multi-cropping, integrated farming, or other methods that match the right crops with the right types of land and farming techniques. Such flexibility would allow them to better adapt to the needs of their communities, resource availability, climate patterns, and market demand.
- Smaller farms can boost local economies and communities. Small and family-owned farms can support local – especially rural – communities through job creation and network building. Smaller farms that deliver directly to their consumers could eliminate the need for middlemen and ensure that profits flow directly to the farmers and their families.
- Sourcing directly from small (and ideally local) farms makes it easier to trace the origins of food and other related produce – including beauty products. Knowing where a product comes from can make it easier to hold producers accountable to more responsible practices.
When much of what we use today comes from industrial farming, it pays to be selective in thinking about smaller farms when we choose to purchase a product. Our goal at Sudtana is to reestablish our ties to the natural world; to reconnect our customers to the land, and help them access the invaluable benefits of a healthy environment.
We therefore try to source all of the key raw materials for our skincare products from small and environmentally-responsible farms in Thailand, in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Songkhram, Phatthalung, and Surat Thani provinces. And this list is always expanding.
Our team is constantly visiting farmlands across the country, especially in rural areas, to find optimal soil and climate conditions for our raw materials. Through these efforts, we hope to sustainably support small-scale farmers and contribute to a shift towards more sustainable methods of consumption and production.