Q&A with Michael Rahal: Sustainable Farming

March 28, 2013

Michael Rahal founded and runs Rahal Farms, a 59-acre sustainable farm in Fairview, Tennessee. Mr. Rahal is a trained designer, but his personal passions led him down a new path. He runs the farm, including its dairy center and culinary school.

Question: What is sustainable farming?

Answer: With sustainable farming, a few important factors are always taken into account: environmental preservation, protection of public health, sustaining vibrant communities, and upholding animal welfare. The concept is not just to take everything possible from the animals, the land, and the community, but it is to create a positive environment where every aspect is beneficial to the others and there are long-term synergies.

Question: Is organic farming the same thing as sustainable farming?

Answer: Although sustainable farming is generally organic, it is very common that organic farming is not sustainable. Considering sustainability factors is much more burdensome than merely meeting organic standards. Consumers who care about sustainability have to do a lot more research to find options they are comfortable with, rather than just going by an organic label.

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