In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development released a report called Our Common Future, also called the Bruntland report. That report defined sustainable development as ‘development that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’
Sustainable farming is an offshoot of sustainable development and it includes a number of practices and techniques that conserve natural resources, prevent pollution and actually make the soil healthier. And all this without loss of nutrients in the crop.
We use sustainable farming practices to grow our crops
We are not a ‘certified organic’ farm, in the traditional sense of the term. But we are also focused on producing clean and high nutrient food. We are happy to say that we use sustainable farming practices to produce this food.
Sustainable farming includes a range of farming techniques that can provide high yields without compromising natural systems and the resources that are required to achieve this productivity. Sustainable farmers don’t struggle with or ignore natural processes. They use current technology and knowledge to avoid the negative consequences of using chemical and industrial based chemicals.
Techniques used in sustainable farming
As a result, sustainable farmers minimize or even eliminate the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, saving money and preserving future productivity and the environment. So what are the most popular sustainable farming practices that farmers might use to achieve the key objectives of pest control, erosion control, weed control and improved soil quality? Here is a small list.
- Soil enrichment
- Using natural predators of pests
- Crop rotation
- Integrated pest management
- Cover crops
Soil enrichment – Soil is probably the most important element in an agricultural ecosystem. Healthy soil is teeming with life, including many beneficial microorganisms and insects. But the use of pesticides, insecticides and artificial fertilizers kills them off. Good soil not only improves yields, it also produces crops that are less vulnerable to pests. There are many ways to improve soil health naturally like adding compost, leaving crop residue in the field and more.
Using natural predators of pests – If you look at a farm as an ecosystem and not as a factory, you will see many opportunities for natural pest control. Many insects, spiders and birds are natural predators of plant pests. Using natural predators of pests is an effective way to control pests on a farm. One of the side effects of using pesticides and insecticides on crops is that it also kills off these beneficial insects and spiders.
Crop rotation – Crop rotation means growing different crops at different times in the same field. It is a well known sustainable agricultural practice. Crop rotation prevents the consequences of putting the same crops in the same field year after year. It is also effective in pest control because many pests have a preference for certain kinds of crops and if you grow the same crop again and again, you are just guaranteeing them a stable food suppy and helping to increase their population. Crop rotation also replenishes soil nutients.
Cover crops – Many farmers leave their farms bare between crops so that the soil can replenish itself. But this also has unintended consequences. Planting cover crops like clover and oats can supress weeds, improve the quality of the soil and prevent soil erosion. Planting cover crops also reduces the need for using artificial additives like fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides.
Integrated pest management – Integrated pest management is a method to control pests through an integrated process. In this approach, you have to rely to the largest extent possible, on biological pest management techniques rather than chemical ones. It emphasises pest control through techniques like releasing beneficial insects that kill and eat the pests, introduction of disease fighting microorganisms into the soil and the plants and crop rotation. Once you identify a pest problem, you can respond by releasing sterile males and biocontrol insects like ladybugs. Chemical pestides are a last resort.
We are proud to say that we practice sustainable agriculture in our farm. Due to this, our produce is safer than conventional farm produce, while containing more nutrients too. To learn more, please contact us.