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The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit corporation that was started in 1994 to inform people living in urban areas about sustainable agriculture in the Bay Area and to open a channel of communication between city dwellers and farmers. CUESA also operates San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market.
Part of CUESA's educational approach is to educate people about the environmental impact of agriculture, and the benefits of sustainable agriculture, including the affect on those who live in cities. For example:
- Agricultural run-off is a leading contributor to nonpoint pollution in San Francisco Bay.
- Overuse of freshwater irrigation creates competition between agricultural and urban water needs. Sustainable agriculture provides alternatives to better manage these water needs.
- Food travels an average of 1,300 miles to get to U.S. tables, contributing to the depletion of fossil fuels, air and water pollution, and more traffic on the roadways. Supporting local agriculture and food systems is one way to reduce this impact.
- Farmland preserves are one way to keep urban sprawl in check and to keep our natural surroundings beautiful.
- Farmers' markets help build community ties and offer a connection between urban consumers and the land.
CUESA offers numerous events throughout the year in addition to the twice-weekly farmers' market, including:
- Cooking demonstrations
- Talks by farmers and artisanal producers
- Farm tours
CUESA subscribes to the following guiding principles for sustainable agricultural production:
- Environmentally Sound - Producers actively work to create and sustain cultivated landscapes that are complex, diverse and balanced biological systems. Producers use practices that conserve and restore resources.
- Humane Animal Management - While being raised, animals are allowed to engage in the natural behaviors that are important to their well-being, and are harvested in ways that minimize stress to the animals and the environment.
- Economically Viable - Producers operate within a framework of sound business planning and pursue integrated and proactive approaches to marketing and sales.
- Socially Just - Producers and their employees receive fair and reasonable compensation and work in a safe and respectful environment.
CUESA web site - www.cuesa.org