As the farmer part of the good goal of being less/no impact, this creates our own interesting reflections. We try ourselves to be/have less impact, but ironically feel in many ways that we have more impact than when we weren't farming. We live in the country, so we need cars. We have a farm so we need a truck. We deliver to town so we need to drive more. We used to just ride bikes & take the bus. But we didn't eat our own food as much...now we eat a huge portion of our food from our own veggies, herbs, beef, pork & eggs. Milk comes from the neighbor & often cheese too. Apples come from a nearby orchard & often from another neighbor. That same neighbor gives us pears oft times. We can buy local honey also. We buy mostly used of most things, including clothes & cars...but their are daily exceptions despite our best (or moderately best) efforts.
In examining our personal & our farming impact, it is easy to be critical of ourselves & look at how we can do more...but we have always tried to create a whole farm system that inherently stewards the land, doesn't consume it...using it up, spitting it out, gobbling it up for more. It feels impossible to separate the personal from the farming in this (and nearly every) instance. It is our life. It is who we are, what we do.
We know people that eat our food feel good about it coming from so close to where they live. That's great. We're glad. For us, it is an interesting exercise & brain twist for us to extend lessening the impact to how we as the farmer is doing in relation to the smaller & bigger picture. Not just field work, but life work. This is really nothing new in a question, but as the farmers, somehow gave us pause that people are counting on us to continue the low-impact equation. Is it really very much better if someone buys local & organic from us, yet if we were indeed completely careless about using up, gobbling up, irrigating with wild abandon and so on...in short, if a farm happens to be local, but the practices are no better, is it better? We have more impact than we wish we did, but we're working on it. With an eye that the professional & the personal blend completely for us here & we're counted on to grow food conscientiously every day. We take it seriously while having fun & know that our community is counting on this integrity.