Nature is self-reliant in terms of maintaining and nourishing itself. And Organic Farming is all about understanding and respecting this intrinsic characteristic of Mother Nature. Firstly, it is important to understand that Organic Farming goes much beyond just the avoidance of artificial and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. It’s about more about striking that perfect balance between the soil organisms, crop, plants, livestock and people involved in this process, ensuring better productivity. And this is done by relying heavily upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection.
The ultimate goal of Organic Farming is to establish a harmonious co-existence between man and nature, eventually leading to a healthier environment.
- Protecting soil quality using organic material and encouraging biological activity
- Indirect provision of crop nutrients using soil microorganisms
- Nitrogen fixation in soils using legumes
- Weed and pest control based on methods like crop rotation, biological diversity, natural predators, organic manures and suitable chemical, thermal and biological intervention
- Rearing of livestock, taking care of housing, nutrition, health, rearing and breeding
- Care for the larger environment and conservation of natural habitats and wild life
ORGANIC V/S CONVENTIONAL METHODS
- Organic Farming totally relies on manure, compost and other natural waste to promote growth. While in Conventional methods, heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers is observed. Alteration of the genetic anatomy and injecting growth hormones are also widely practiced.
- Organic Farming majorly uses insects, soil organisms, birds and mating disruption techniques to reduce or prevent diseases. While, Conventional farmers heavily spray pesticides and insecticides.
- Organic methods resort to crop rotation and manual picking of weeds while, Conventional measures liberally use chemical herbicides.
- In Organic technique, the livestock is managed through rotations in grazing and providing organic and natural feed. Whereas, the Conventional methods involve hormone & growth injections and antibiotics as a tool to prevent diseases.
WHY/BENEFITS OF ORGANIC FARMING
- Sustainability: As Organic Farming aims at establishing ecological balance, environmental problems are proactively handled even before they emerge.
- Soil Health: Through active crop rotation, and cross-cropping methods, soil’s ability to retain nutrients and water dramatically increases. This also prevents soil from being exposed to erosive materials thus, not only improvement in soil health, but also yield health.
- Water: Since there is no usage of chemicals in any form, water pollution is highly controlled. Also as soil has enhanced retention capacity, loss of ground-water is also controlled, rather prevented.
- Air-Climate Control: With no use of non-renewable resources, emission of harmful gases into the environment is avoided. Also through Organic Farming, mitigation of green-house effect and global warming can be curbed as it has the ability to seize carbon in the soil.
- Biodiversity: Through Organic Farming, species at all levels are benefitted. Right from, soil organisms, plants, climate to areas in and around the field.
- Nutrition Rich: Organic food is much richer in nutrients. Organic Farming enhances the nutrients of the soil which are passed on to the plants and animals.
- Free of Toxins: Organic farming does not involve use of poisonous chemicals, pesticides and weedicides. Studies have revealed that these substances play a crucial role in fatal ailments like Cancer. So, through Organic Farming these toxins can be completely condemned.
- Better Taste: Organic food often tastes better than other food as it is naturally bestowed upon with enhanced flavor. Also, the sugar content in organically grown fruits and vegetables provides them with extra taste.
- Longer shelf–life: Organic plants have greater metabolic and structural integrity in the cellular structure of Organic crops give them a longer shelf-life, enabling storage for a longer time.
LIVESTOCK & VERMICULTURE
Livestock and Organic Farming are closely interwoven. And their contribution in terms of providing manure cannot be overlooked. Livestock is said to be the major contributor in soil fertility. They are known to maintain the agro-ecological balance. It is rightly said, that healthier the livestock, healthier the yield. While they feed on organic plants and crop residue, they end up providing nutrition rich produce. Be it, milk, eggs etc. Organic rearing of livestock along with organic farming are two major stepping stones to a healthier lifestyle.
It is the scientific process of artificial rearing of earthworms for benefit of human life. Through this technology vermicompost is prepared which is used in Organic Farming and is known to be nutrient rich. Vermicompost is basically excreta of earthworms that are fed on agricultural waste under controlled moist conditions. Their excreta is absolutely environment friendly and extremely helpful in improving soil fertility.
Advantages of Vermicomposting
- Eco-friendly natural fertilizer prepared from biodegradable organic wastes, is free from chemical inputs
- Does not have any adverse effect on soil, plant and environment
- Improves soil aeration, texture and tilth thereby reducing soil compaction
- Improves water retention capacity of soil because of its high organic matter content
- Promotes better root growth and nutrient absorption
- Improves nutrient status of soil-both macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients
At Samkhya, we aim to create a healthy interdependence of life and nature. And our first step towards it is Organic Farming. We are actively engaged in promoting Organic Agriculture. Through audio-visual aid and seminars, we encourage and motivate farmers to make this organic shift. Usually, Organic Farming turns to be more expensive and time-consuming and so we provide constructive intervention wherever necessary.
For maintenance and cultivation, we offer training and guidance with regards to manure, soil management, disease prevention etc. We train them into producing manure through natural and agricultural waste and ways in which yield can be maximized. Guidance in Vermiculture and livestock rearing is also imparted in the most optimum way. Moreover, finances are also taken care of. Samkhya also ensures that farmers get their fair due in the market and in times of a financial loss, we immediately provide reimbursement for the same.
We further look towards associating with like-minded individuals and organizations, thereby giving this initiative a wider platform.
While Samkhya is working towards enriching internal health through Organic Agriculture, we are also equally concerned about the health of our environment and its effects on our health. We aim to work towards controlling the pollution. We have come up with several measures to tackle this issue. But first let’s understand what exactly this pollution is.
WHAT IS POLLUTION?
In simplest words, when any substance interferes with our natural environment thereby, altering or causing adverse changes in the normal lifestyle is called Pollution. It can be in any form- air, land, noise, water or radiation. Whatever may be the type of pollution, but it poses unimaginable threat to living beings.
EFFECTS OF POLLUTION
Pollution affects in a holistic manner. And with modernization and development, the hazardous effects have multiplied manifold. Some are:
- Environment Degradation: Increased amount of CO2 in the atmosphere leads to smog, restricting sunlight from reaching the earth. This hampers the Photosynthesis process in plants. Moreover, emission of harmful gases into the air through vehicles and industries pose threat of acid rain time and again. Also contamination of water is caused through industrial and human waste being emptied in water resources.
- Health Hazards: Polluted air makes a person susceptible to several respiratory problems including asthma or lung cancer. Also, chest pain, congestion, throat inflammation, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease may lead to fatal consequences. Contaminated water may cause digestion and stomach related ailments. Similarly, Noise pollution may lead to hearing loss, stress and sleep disturbance.
- Global Warming: The sudden rise in the emission of greenhouse gases particularly CO2, is leading to global warming. With more and more deforestation occurring every other day, CO2 levels are steadily going up. As a result, the polar ice caps are melting and posing constant threat to an abnormal rise in sea levels.
- Ozone Depletion: Ozone layer is the thin shield high up in the sky that stops ultra violet rays from reaching the earth. Because of human activities that are unfriendly to the environment, there is a gradual but sever depletion of this protective shield.
- Soil Infertility: Last but not the least, increased use of harmful insecticides and pesticides have made the soil infertile and polluted. Also, increased use of plastic and other non-biodegradable substances have further damaged the soil.
These underlying hazards of pollution are harmful not only to the humans, but to the entire eco-system. Thus, managing and curbing pollution has become inevitable.
The damage is done, but why let it happen further? It’s high time we get conscious and try to control pollution. Here are few very much do-able things that can be easily incorporated in routine lives.
- Avoid use of non-biodegradable items, majorly plastic bags.
- Switch to renewable sources of energy like, solar cooker, solar heater etc.
- Ban the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in farms. Also, switch to food grown in organic manner.
- Use public transport or carpooling. This saves fuel to large extent.
- Avoid garbage piling up near your homes. Dispose it in an appropriate way so that it can be decomposed to form manure.
- Plant more trees in and around your homes to maintain natural supply of oxygen and light.
- Get into the practice of harvesting rainwater. Considering the deficient rains, rainwater harvesting could be collectively taken up, thereby ensuring water supply in times of crisis.
At Samkhya, we have ventured into this direction already. Though at an initial stage, but we have started to produce ‘kullads’- clay glasses as a measure to reduce the usage of plastic/glass containers. And this concept has gained immense popularity both in terms of being stylish and nature-friendly. We are already on our way to come up fresh ideas and user-friendly items. At the same time, we are also educating and sensitizing people towards newer ways and means to curb pollution. We are focusing on communicating this to people/masses with a view that how easy or doable it is.
We are also conducting workshops, lectures and awareness programs at various schools and educational institutions. As this sensitivity is ingrained within a child at an early age, it is bound to last for a lifetime. Taking this belief ahead we further hope to collaborate with like-minded individuals and collectively take the reins of this pollution control drive.