Basics of Natural Farming

>> Sunday, December 12, 2010

Two videos from Permaculture & Regenerative Design News discussing mankind’s influence on the development of food production. They discuss the overall concept of natural farming (permaculture). Something home gardeners are already familiar with but I place links to these very well made educational tools for those who may wish to start their own home gardens.

There are no step by step instructions here, but to see the whole cycle of how we can produce healthy food without the use of chemicals is, in my opinion, a very important step in taking everyone further away from the influence of oil and chemical companies.

From the video we learn that 400 gallons of oil are used annually to feed each modern human.
Of this non-renewable pollutant-laden fossil fuel
  • 34% is used for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer which is used once and washed into our drinking water and eventually out to sea,
  • 19% is used for the operation of field machinery which pollutes the air we breathe, and
  • 16% is used for the transportation of food to our supermarkets which further pollutes our air.

We also learn that the production of one kilogram of artificial nitrogen fertilizer requires about 1.4 liters of fossil fuel and the U.S. alone uses around 13,000,000 tons of this fertilizer per year. Nitrogen fertilizer is produced freely by planting beans. Any member of the legume family fixes atmospheric nitrogen into the soil to feed other crops.

Industrial farming practices strip away valuable nutrients which weakens the plants genetic integrity and causes the need for more pesticides, more fertilizer and more pollution.

Between 1945 and 1994, energy input to agriculture increased 4-fold while crop yields only increased 3-fold.

Natural farming relies on biodiversity to maintain a natural and healthy balance in the garden.

In order to produce a healthier food crop as well as protect our environment we need to practice 4 basic principles of natural farming:
  1. no cultivation – only planting, mulching and harvesting
  2. no fertilizer – not chemical, not organic, not even compost
  3. no pesticides – toxic chemicals get absorbed into the food matter
  4. no herbicides – the only method of weeding is by hand

If we practice natural farming and plant a variety of plants, we can not help but have a healthier planet. Let’s all do our part.


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