Going Towards Ecological Farming

A majority of the food today is created through the means of industrialized farming. Industrialized farming fundamentally shapes our farms into factories. The farms are run like factories due to the requirement of artificial composts, biochemical insecticides, hefty quantities of irrigation H2O, and vestige fuels that help create innately altered harvests and cattle. As a result industrial farming is diminishing the country’s topsoil at a dangerous rate. Due to the dangerous rate experts are declaring that the nation has less than 60 harvests remaining if there is not a change towards more ecological agriculture practices. The constant use of insecticides on pastures is killing our soils, water structures, and our air we inhale daily. A study has been done that indicates about 93% of Americans are glyphosate positive. Glyphosate is a prominently squirted herbicide. There are some basic ways to maintain ecological agriculture rather than agriculture that is factory based.

Organic Farming

Making farms more prolific by increasing more sustenance per acre is a beneficial step towards organic farming. A change towards more organic techniques for farming can help a farm to increase in profitability. Organic farming is also beneficial because it can generate greater nutrient condensed harvest that is not innately altered. Generating greater nutrient condensed harvest is a fantastic benefit for our atmosphere.

Usage

Using lunar power-driven wireless devices can provide harvests with great exactitude when being watered. This enables huge savings on water usage. Dry farming is also a technique being practiced. Dry farming enables plants to be nourished without using water.

Soil

Organic farming helps to stimulate vigorous soil. Healthy soil promotes several functions to occur such as cycling, water purification, and water preservation. For more information regarding farming and soil follow this link.

In conclusion, organic farming provides an ecological prospect for the environment.

Tennessee Banning Common Pesticide

Human exposure to certain pesticides can worsen health, and cause a number of diseases. A Reuters article, posted on Reddit explains how Tennessee has enforced new regulations on the use of a Monsanto pesticide, Dicamba. This pesticide is a weed killer, and also used for pest control systems, but unfortunately, should only be used on genetically modified crops.

Four states have now banned Dicamba, including Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and now Tennessee. Many farmers today plant genetically modified crops that can withstand pesticides, but one of the problems with spraying pesticides is the drifting to nearby communities. This drifting causes damages to neighbor crops that are not genetically modified, and farmers are now embroiled in lawsuits. And it’s not just farming communities, but residential neighbors are sustaining damages on their small vegetable gardens and lush landscapes. The results are that these small vegetable gardens are no longer viable, and create additional costs.

A Missouri farmer, Hunter Raffety says “We’ve sustained acres of damage across the soybeans we farm.” Monsanto’s spokesman and chief technology officer, Robb Fraley blames the problem on user error, explaining that farmers are not handling the dicamba pesticide correctly, or not following application instructions. He also commented that farmers could also be purchasing cheaper and older formulas of dicamba that are more likely to drift. According to Chris Chinn, the Missouri Director of Agriculture, the companies producing these weed killers with dicamba pesticide have agreed to new safeguards.

In the United States, there are approximately 80,000 registered chemicals utilized, but most of us have no idea about the amount of pesticides used. And in the real world,however, most of these pesticides are used in combination with other chemical compounds. Unfortunately, we don’t have a clue about the synergies between these chemicals, and how they can affect us in our homes.

Farms Using Underground Water To irrigate Crops Face Precarious Future

Since 1961 more than 40% of the increase in farm food production has been accomplished through increased irrigation. Farmers discovered that by drilling deep wells into the middle of their fields millions of gallons of water could be pumped from underground aquifers – a wonderful substitute for rain, or lack of it.

The results have been marvelous. In fact, the increased use of underground aquifers is considered a revolution in modern farming. Now growers can bring in robust crops even in doughty years. A steady supply of water also makes it easier to coax crops from marginal, sandy soils.

But concern is growing daily about the sustainability of pumping so much groundwater. With the number of farmers applying for irrigation permits skyrocketing, the volume of water being drawn from aquifers has grown astronomically.

One of America’s largest aquifers, the Ogallala Aquifer, is already showing signs of strain. It’s a vast underground cache of water sprawling across an enormous region of underground middle America. Experts believe the Ogallala is possibly 70% depleted. Some wells currently drawing from the Ogallala have already run dry.

That has a lot of people worried. Scientists are concerned that draining underground aquifers may have long-term consequences that are still unknown. Farmers must accept that they can’t keep relying on unlimited groundwater to their farms expanding and profitable.

But once a practice has begun it’s extremely difficult to reverse it, or even slow it down. Farmers now rely on a steady supply of groundwater to being in big crops. Government rules and regulation are always unpopular among farmers.

However, industry observers predict that reality will soon “hit the fan” one way or another. If major groundwater aquifers began to fail farmers will need to change strategies whether they like it or not.

Terracing Techniques Retaught on Italy’s Cinque Terre Coast

Lying on the northern coast of Italy, the region of Cinque Terre has become one of the most famous tourist sites in the country. Recently, this area has been attracting more than just tourists. A UNESCO-funded program to help teach the art of terracing has been developed in the region. Led by Margherita Ermirio, the goal is to not only teach the traditional method of farming to the next generation, but also to secure the future of the Cinque Terre region. Because of its unique placement on the side of mountains set against the sea, the terracing in Cinque Terre not only yields crops but helps to maintain soil structure and prevent erosion.

 

Mrs. Ermirio spent several years abroad before returning to her hometown in order reteach the process of terracing. Essentially, terracing is the method of planting crops on step-like platforms that have been carved into the mountainside. This form of agriculture helps to prevent heavy erosion associated with falling rainwater. In a sense, reteaching this method of farming not only helps to carry on a sense of cultural historical significance but also to secure the future of the Cinque Terre landscape itself.

 

Starting in the 1960’s farmers began to leave their plots of land in order to search for better work in the cities. This abandonment has left many of these terrace steps in need of repair and reuse. Through the UNESCO-sponsored program, Mrs. Ermirio has been working with several local landlords to help rebuild the terracing structures and continue this old practice of agriculture in order to secure a future for Cinque Terre. The work conducted by Mrs. Ermirio has received support and attention at both a global and an international level.

 

Farmers Leading Conservation Efforts

Many farmers in the United States are leading conservation efforts, according to a recent Huffington Post article. They are using different farming techniques than generations before them used to get better crops while protecting the ground that they love.

One common technique that is used is no-till farming. With this technique farmers do not plow the ground in the spring before putting their crops in the ground. This allows farmers to save about half of the fuel that they burn annually which has an immediate impact on the environment. Numerous studies show that not plowing decreases the number of weeds. Therefore, farmers do not have to apply as much fertilizer.

Farmers are also choosing to plant different crops than they have historically. For example, they may plant a low ground cover crop that grows quickly amidst a crop that grows taller to help control weeds naturally. They may also plant a crop that has deep roots among a shallower rooted crop so that the deep roots help to keep the ground open to capture rain.

Farmers are also planting more acreage than ever before. The corners of fields are left as buffer strips that are not harvested. These areas then attract natural pollinators like monarch butterflies and honey bees. The buffer strips are also great at attracting beneficial insects that help control bugs that harm a farmer’s crops.

The largest change, however, comes in the fall when leftovers from the harvest are left on the field. The leftovers from the crop depends on what is grown, but it may include corn cobs, husks, and stalks. Following this technique helps to prevent wind and rain erosion. It may also help to stop damage from the searing heat of summer if the residue does not disintegrate. Leaving residue on fields also helps to promote better soil because worms and organisms have a place to live. In exchange, they create holes in the ground that helps the ground retain water. Finally, leaving residue on the field helps microbial communities to thrive which increases oxygen and phosphorous levels needed by growing plants.

 

 

 

In The Wild Or On The Farm, Blueberries Are A Smart Choice!

Farm-raised, “high bush” blueberries and the minute, out in the field, wild blueberries are an excellent source of nutrients and should be a part of everyone’s daily diet. Low in calories, with high fiber content and the essential vitamin C and vitamin C,blueberries pack a potent punch of antioxidants.

 

According to Rutgers University’s Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension researcher Amy Howell, “We as scientists don’t see a big difference from a health perspective,”they’re both excellent.” The purple-blue pigment in blueberries is a result of anthocyanins, which keep cells safe from radical damage and promotes anti-inflammation. Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University in Kannapolis, North Carolina, director Mary Ann Lila says the blueberry is unique in its biochemical structure which targets inflammatory regions inside the human body.

 

Lending more support to the magnificent blueberry is that the Wild Blueberry Association of North America indicates that blueberries from the wild are the king of all berries and other fruits and vegetables! Citing a United States Department of Agriculture 2010 report, blueberries were virtually off the chart in terms of antioxidant values. Even Cornell University’s blueberry study substantiated the USDA report and noted that wild berries even demonstrated greater antioxidant protection than blueberries raised in commercial farming operations.

 

There are numerous contemporary research studies about the nutritional benefit of wild and farmed blueberries. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry indicated that in a controlled group, individuals adding blueberry juice to their daily diet for 12 weeks acknowledged an improvement in the memory retention.Another study showed that obese individuals adding a freeze-dried blueberry powder to their daily smoothie demonstrated significant improvement in their insulin sensitivity.

 

For those individuals that enjoy ‘fresh’ raw blueberries, you’ll most likely have to resort to frozen blueberries, as the wild ones have a short shelf life after picking and the only means to maximize a harvest is to freeze them immediately after picking.

Sustainable Farmers Continue to Seek Peace and Prosperity Through Farming

Farming is no longer just a way to survive or to provide a living for the farmer. It is an industry where many participants are deeply devoted to environmental protection and the improvement of life for others around the world. It may seem to those outside the industry that these lofty goals are more that the average farm can accomplish, but real-life examples of success do exist.

 

Deb Habib and Ricky Baruc built their farm, Seeds of Solidarity, with these purposes in mind. They describe how their mission changed in 1994 with a pilgrimage to the Middle East. Their goal was to pray in solidarity as they walked and chanted to help those suffering from the affects of many centuries of constant strife. In Iraq they saw how the lives of locals were disrupted by the harvesting of fossil fuels. This was the moment when they knew their lifestyle would be one of only sustainable practices.

 

Their farm was established in the 1980’s and used fossil fuels to operate. When they returned from the pilgramage they converted their electricity to solar energy and eliminated all fuel-powered machinery. The farm has operated in this manner for over 20 years since the pilgrimage took place. The pair even catch wildlife that enters the farm and relocate it to safer areas rather than take an innocent life.

 

Throughout the farm are sculptures, inspirational signs and altars to keep the pair, and any visitors, inspired in the cause. Sustainable living and farming practices are not unique to Habib and Baruc. Many farming communities are adjusting their practices to ensure the food they produce is healthy, but to also protect the land for future farmers and provide a better existence for the farm workers and farm animals.

 

It is a process that requires a lot of adjusting in order to create the right balance that produces enough food without resorting to practices that may corrupt the soil or pollute the water table. The focus is also on providing stability for families and communities that rely on the money the farm is able to earn as well as the food it produces. With approximately 40 percent of the population of the world working in some capacity in the agriculture industry, there is no way to overstate the importance of protecting this valuable industry. Sustainable farmers seek to prove that feeding the world is possible without poisoning the environment or modifying produce in laboratories.

 

Farmers Leading Conservation Efforts

Many farmers in the United States are leading conservation efforts, according to a recent Huffington Post article. They are using different farming techniques than generations before them used to get better crops while protecting the ground that they love.

One common technique that is used is no-till farming. With this technique farmers do not plow the ground in the spring before putting their crops in the ground. This allows farmers to save about half of the fuel that they burn annually which has an immediate impact on the environment. Numerous studies show that not plowing decreases the number of weeds. Therefore, farmers do not have to apply as much fertilizer.

Farmers are also choosing to plant different crops than they have historically. For example, they may plant a low ground cover crop that grows quickly amidst a crop that grows taller to help control weeds naturally. They may also plant a crop that has deep roots among a shallower rooted crop so that the deep roots help to keep the ground open to capture rain.

Farmers are also planting more acreage than ever before. The corners of fields are left as buffer strips that are not harvested. These areas then attract natural pollinators like monarch butterflies and honey bees. The buffer strips are also great at attracting beneficial insects that help control bugs that harm a farmer’s crops.

The largest change, however, comes in the fall when leftovers from the harvest are left on the field. The leftovers from the crop depends on what is grown, but it may include corn cobs, husks, and stalks. Following this technique helps to prevent wind and rain erosion. It may also help to stop damage from the searing heat of summer if the residue does not disintegrate. Leaving residue on fields also helps to promote better soil because worms and organisms have a place to live. In exchange, they create holes in the ground that helps the ground retain water. Finally, leaving residue on the field helps microbial communities to thrive which increases oxygen and phosphorous levels needed by growing plants.