The era of synthetic materials resulting increase in the produce is past. The use of chemical fertilisers, insecticides, etc. is a strict no-no in the current era of conscious farming. To provide and ecological balance, prevent pollution of soil & water, withstand climate change etc., age old natural practices to conduct the process of farming is rapidly being adopted.
Thanks to increased transparency in various industries and constant field education, people are closely monitoring their food product intake. People are increasingly being educated with the negative impacts of chemically induced farming practices on our ecology.
The field of agroecology incorporating scientific knowledge of ecology promotes the traditional farming practices. This has initiated an eco-farming drive. Practices such as organic and natural farming are gaining popularity and is now being widely practiced in various parts of the world.
Organic farming is the practice adopted for growth of crop and/or livestock with application of practices in harmony with the ecology. A concept pre-existing in the farming practices was highlighted in the 1900s by Sir Albert Howard, F.H. King, Rudolf Steiner, and constantly by such other revolutionaries in the field.
As conveyed in the words by
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) :
“Organic Farming relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved..."
Organic farming aims at:
Conducive Methods to promote Organic Farming
Organic farming is a perfect combination of new technology and old farming practices.
Further, organically raising livestock and poultry adds to providing quality meat, dairy and eggs. This enables meeting quality food standards that are safe and healthy for human consumption.
Natural farming is a practice incorporating laws of nature. The technique aims at growth of crops in the existing biodiversity harmonizing balance of food plants and existing farm area ecosystem. It follows the policy of no human-supplied inputs for crop growth.
Evolution of Natural Farming
Through practiced world-wide in different forms over decades, natural farming gained its popularity when introduced in the book “One Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka.
A Japanese farmer and philosopher, Masanobu Fukuoka, described his way of farming in the book as “the natural way of farming”. As a protagonist in the book Fukuoka talks about the farming technique and his journey towards its learning. The book radically changed ideologies and challenged the common practices followed.
“The Fukuoka Method” primarily depending on cultural and local bio-diversity instills five natural farming principles:
Elaborately discussing the natural technique of farming, Fukuoka highlights the balance in the ecology and biodiversity and how it helps in aiding growth of healthy food in abundance.
Benefits of Organic and/or Natural Farming
Age old practices such as organic and natural farming have additional benefits not only to humans but also to the environment in many ways.
Adoption of natural fertilisers (such as animal compost, plant compost), reduced tilling of land, controlled weed produce etc. helps to enhance the soil fertility. It not only results in adaptive soil environment for abundant and healthy crop growth but also curbs topsoil erosion.
A healthy soil is the most commonly cost-effective and natural way of removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it creates a friendly environment for growth of plants and microbes in the soil enabling absorption. Process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide is referred to as carbon sequestration.
Healthy soil allows the absorption and retention of moisture enabling maintenance of adequate soil aeration and healthy crop root system. This helps in the crop withstanding climatic resilience to changing conditions such as droughts, erosion during floods, overtime.
Organic or Natural farming is practiced keeping nature in cognizance. The practices followed under these techniques of farming enables water management. A healthy soil reduces constant supply of water to the land hence reduced installation of water pumps or other artificially devised methods of water irrigation. Enabling moisture retention of the soil by natural means results in healthy crop growth and increases capacity of the soil to absorb and enhance ground water levels.
No use of chemicals or synthetic fertilisers helps maintain water quality. This help break the vicious cycle of presence of chemicals either in soil or water promoting a healthy crop for human consumption.
Reduced use of chemicals and synthetic agents to promote crop growth helps in maintaining quality in soil and water quality. This results in positive impact to reduce release of greenhouse gases from the soil.
Adopting natural means to farming drastically reduces the use of machinery using fossil fuels at various stages. Right from production of synthetic fertilisers, insecticides etc. to fuel consuming land tillers used in conventional farming which increase reliance on fossil fuels reduces tremendously leaving a positive impact to our atmosphere and a cleaner air.
Healthy soil curbs continuous search of land for agriculture purposes. The organic and natural means to farming enriches the fertility of soil. Healthy and abundant crop can be grown in minimum land area by using the tools provided by the farming techniques.Nutrients, moisture and microbes present in the soil promote conservation of natural resources and biodiversity initiating an ecological balance.
Rich soil and water also initiates purification of air giving healthy food plant. This enables to keep the food quality intact and highly nutritious. Though not proven with adequate data research, food crop grown adopting natural ways of farming are believed to add a better taste than crop grown with adopting chemicals and synthetics.
Aquaponics though being reliant on a crucial element, water is a sustainable way or organic farming. It enables a frequent and high yield of produce in the most natural way. The produce is not only organic but also nutritiously balanced, which is an important factor.
With the need of increased supply of food, aquaponics does serve to be a viable and immediate answer to the growing concerns.
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