The Lexicon of Sustainability

The Lexicon of Sustainability is based on a simple premise: people can't be expected to live more sustainable lives if they don't even know the most basic terms and principles that define sustainability.

57 (The Average Age of the American Farmer)

2m 46s

If the average age of the American farmer is 57, what happens when they retire? From Edible Schoolyards to Green Collar jobs, young people are learning how to grow their own food, eat healthy and engage with land and community. Learn about terms like “Greenhorns”, “Growing Farmers” and “Horticultural Literacy”.


  • 57 (The Average Age of the American Farmer): asset-mezzanine-16x9

    57 (The Average Age of the American Farmer)

    S1 E23 - 2m 46s

    If the average age of the American farmer is 57, what happens when they retire? From Edible Schoolyards to Green Collar jobs, young people are learning how to grow their own food, eat healthy and engage with land and community. Learn about terms like “Greenhorns”, “Growing Farmers” and “Horticultural Literacy”.

  • Food Security: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Food Security

    S1 E22 - 3m 25s

    The politics and culture of food are often expressed in terms of food security and food sovereignty. These terms are often used interchangeably, even though they mean different things. Erika Allen of Chicago’s Grower Power explains that food security considers whether a person knows where their next meal is coming from, while food sovereignty defends a community’s right to decide how they are fed.

  • Urban Farming: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Urban Farming

    S1 E21 - 2m 50s

    By the end of the 20th century, nearly 80 percent of Americans lived in urban areas and no longer knew who grew their food. Then something happened. Across America, an urban farming movement began. On city rooftops, in vacant lots, and even in front yards, people are growing food in cities, or buying it from their neighbors, reconnecting them to where their food comes from.

  • Water: asset-mezzanine-16x9


    S1 E20 - 3m 24s

    Agriculture depends on water, but in many parts of the world water is a scarce resource. Effectively managing watersheds helps farmers preserve their farms while protecting the environment; while new technologies, like drip irrigation, help conserve water by putting small amounts precisely where needed, greatly reducing water waste.

  • Land Trust: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Land Trust

    S1 E19 - 2m 37s

    In some parts of the U.S., a farm is worth more for its real estate than for what it grows and valuable food-producing land, which has been carefully tended for generations, is lost forever. Conservationist Bob Berner explains how land trusts provide guidance and economic support to keep farms in production and provide communities with cultural continuity.

  • GMOs: asset-mezzanine-16x9


    S1 E18 - 3m 9s

    GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, are created when scientists take DNA from one plant species and add it to the DNA of another. Jessica Lundberg of Lundberg Family Farms advocates initiatives that would impose mandatory labeling of food products using GMO ingredients because she believes consumers have the right know what’s in their food.

  • Fair Trade vs. Direct Trade: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Fair Trade vs. Direct Trade

    S1 E17 - 3m 3s

    When you buy food, you’re buying values: The values of the person who grows your food; the values of the person who transports it; and the values of the person who sells it to you. Ben Myers of 1000 Face Coffee in Athens, Georgia explains that consumers have values too. Consumers can shop according to their values by understanding certification initiatives like Fair Trade and Direct Trade.

  • Antibiotic-Free: asset-mezzanine-16x9


    S1 E16 - 2m 32s

    Nearly 80 percent of the antibiotics in the U.S. aren’t used on people. They’re used on animals—animals we eat—and most aren’t even sick. Low-level doses of antibiotics for extended periods of time are used mainly to increase animal weight gain. Livestock ranchers Bill and Nicolette Niman share their insights on the growing movement to remove sub-therapeutic antibiotics from American beef.

  • What is Sustainability?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What is Sustainability?

    S1 E15 - 4m 14s

    Everything we do has consequences, even when hidden from view. Sustainability imbues all of us, as either consumers or producers, with a clear sense of responsibility. It gives us the opportunity to change how we think, what we make, and what we buy—and confirms that our actions matter; reinforcing that we are both the cause and the solution of that which ails us as a society.

  • Terroir: asset-mezzanine-16x9


    S1 E14 - 1m 56s

    Judith Redmond of California’s Full Belly Farm explains that food is more than what you eat. Food carries with it an undeniable sense of place, and the French even have a word for it: it’s called terroir. Learn more about what makes food taste different.

  • Traceability: asset-mezzanine-16x9


    S1 E13 - 3m 20s

    Studies show that nearly 1/3 of all fish consumers buy isn’t what they think it is. Scotty Fraser of Norpac in Honolulu, Hawaii explains that one possible solution for seafood fraud is traceability, which tracks fish from the moment it leaves to water until it ends up on your plate, providing consumers with valuable information about the fish they buy.

  • Grass Fed: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Grass Fed

    S1 E12 - 3m 1s

    Most cattle are finished on industrial feedlots, where they are fed a mix of antibiotics, hormones, protein supplements, and corn. Farmers like Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Swoope, Virginia raise their cattle on grass, using rotational grazing and other fundamental principles of pasture management. Learn more about the difference between grass-fed and corn-fed beef.

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