About this page:
The Better India has long since been a proponent of Organic Farming. A major part of our focus has been finding and reporting on stories of organic farming initiatives and what made them successful, so that we can spread the information and inspire others. We believe that it is an important aspect of making a better India.
But why organic farming?
In order to give context to our broader effort of promoting organic farming, we have created this section as a resource. It talks about what organic farming is and why we should even care about it.
Further, we aim to collect resources to help you learn as much as possible about organic farming. Because knowledge is power.
So, read this page, bookmark it, and share it with others to inform and spark a conversation! We will keep updating it with new information and content.
What is Organic Farming?
Organic farming is a holistic system of agriculture that takes into account the health of everything involved, form the soil microbes to the farmers to the distributors to the consumers to the ecosystem.
Essentially there are 2 main aspects that are must be fulfilled:
- Keep the soil alive and in good health.
- Use minimal to none synthetic inputs (fertilizers, pesticides) and no Genetically Modified (GM) crops.
It is important to note that organic farming alone may not be the ultimate solution. The purpose of this page is to inform about the benefits and inspire dialogue on this topic. People need food, that will not change. We must understand where our food comes from, and the connection between our food, us, and the environment.
To know more about Organic Certification Bodies, click on the link below:
To know more about where YOU can learn about organic farming, and even try your hand at it, check out this page:
To find out where you can get organic foods to support your farmers and eat healthier, check out our shop:
To get more context on what this Organic Farming page is all about and why we're doing it, read below:
Organic Citizens- Get Inspired!
This week’s Organic Video
Why should you care about Organic Farming?
The heavy use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers is eliminated. Hence the produce we get is free of any residue from these things that might have been there.
FARMERS TAKEN CARE OF
Farmers tend to get a higher price for organic products, and this helps sustain a good income. Plus they can avoid expensive GM seeds and synthetic chemicals, as well as the risk associated with handling synthetic chemicals without sufficient training.
Organic farming inherently takes care of the land. Harmful elements are greatly reduced or eliminated, and the natural cycles of the soil and surrounding environment are kept balanced and healthy. There is no desertification of land because of balanced farming.
Conventional farming techniques have highly negative effects on the environment including pollution to due run off of chemicals, soil erosion, and the loss of biodiversity. Not only is all of this bad for the planet, but it makes the crops themselves more susceptible to pests and diseases. Further, many of the inputs into conventional farming are derived from fossil fuels.
The Earth will have to feed close to 10 billion by 2050 (according to estimates by the UN). With the rapidity of land degradation that conventional farming affects, we need to consider methods that will provide the necessary food and be sustainable.
The Aspects of Organic Farming
Organic matter levels are maintained and soil biological activity is encouraged. The soil needs certain microorganisms in abundance to allow plants to grow. They do all kinds of things, like breaking down molecules into ionic form which plants need. Organic matter in soil contributes to good soil structure and water-retention capacity. Mechanical intervention is limited to prevent soil compaction which negatively effects plant growth.
Organic farming by its very nature increases the biodiversity in a region, and needs the biodiversity to flourish. By growing many different crops in tandem and rotating them regularly, pests are kept at bay. Also, there are more natural predators of pests. The soil is kept crawling with good bacteria and other critters. High biodiversity enhances the performance of the ecological cycles that the crops depend on.
The plants are kept fed and the soil is kept healthy with natural fertilizers. Farmers use composting, mulching, animal manures, and other organic material available on the farm itself. Organic fertilizer doesn’t run off as hazardous waste. It keeps the soil alive, and it doesn’t require to be manufactured so it is far more sustainable than chemical fertilizers.
Good plant nutrition is the first key to the prevention of plant diseases. This is taken care through soil care and use of natural fertilizers. Natural pesticides are allowed; these are made from ingredients like cow urine, neem, jaggery, and so on. Another method is to plant things that are natural deterrents to certain pests among the crop and may attract beneficial insects, and rotate crops from field to field to that no pest can persist in an area. And finally, a healthy balance with the environment nurtures healthy biodiversity; in this case, the availability of natural predators of pests. The best way to control pests is to be in harmony with nature.
Organic farming is more energy efficient. This is because far less energy is spent manufacturing synthetic products for the farming itself. According to The Rodale Institute, which has been investigating this for more than 30 years, farming one hectare of organic corn requires 10,150 megajoules of energy, whereas conventionally grown corn requires 17,372 megajoules, 71% more than the organic crop. Conventional crop production has higher net energy production, whereas organic crop production has higher energy efficiency.” (Gomiero, Pimentel, and Paoletti 2011).
Farmers also plant legumes among their crops. Legumes naturally fix nitrogen in the soil, and they form a part of our diet (peas, beans, and other plants). Legumes along with organic fertilizer provide all the nitrogen the crops need. Thus the farm is completely self-sufficient of its nitrogen needs, and doesn’t need external fertilizer.
All agricultural practices must maintain balance with the larger environment. Organic farming aims to do this at all levels. By aligning with natural cycles, managing waste, and using as many resources as possible from within the farm, the overall use of resources and impact on the environment is kept low and manageable.