For the last 20 years, there has been an emergence of a growing movement to promote the development and implementation of sustainable farming practice. In spite of the growing popularity of sustainable farming practices, the concept of having a sustainable agriculture system is still evolving. Sustainable farming practices encompass both changing attitudes towards farming and developing environmental awareness.
The issue does not involve farming, but the things that are wrapped around it. It is important that farmers implement sustainable farming practices, but at what cost? At the cost of meeting society’s current food and textile needs. Sustainable farming practices do not only cover the area related to food products but also the textile needs of society. It is a bigger concept than anyone can imagine. We also need to be sure that these sustainable farming practices meet the expectations our future holds for us. Our methods and actions can define a lot more than meeting food and textile needs.
Sustainable farming practices are a simple concept. All it needs is sheer will and determination. Sustainable farming practices are sustainable ways or methods to do farming. These sustainable methods can help us meet our society’s current food and textile needs. Sustainable farming practices do not compromise the future generations and understand the ecosystem well.
As Jamais Cascio says in an article, sustainability is a laudable goal that we have to achieve. Though he praises the motive, he also speaks facts about changing our traditional ways to fit our lifestyle needs. It is very uncertain at some times. Our need changes with time, in a swift and unexpected manner. It is strange how our needs differ with time. This is one of that times. Though we think sustainable farming practice can help us achieve better, it is inevitable to say how our needs change with time.
Principles and practices of sustainable farming practices
First, let us understand what is sustainable farming. The term sustainable farming has many interpretations. A common web search will tell us that sustainable farming practice comprise site-specific ranching and farming practices. Mentors and professionals have designed these practices to meet our current and future needs for food and fiber. Sustainable agriculture emphasizes profitable production and food systems that are environmentally sound, energy-efficient, and increase the quality of life for farmers and the general population.
Sustainable farming practices work with many different technologies. It cannot rule out one particular technology. These methods or practices can be applied to large-scale operations as well as small-scale operations. Niche market production can also benefit from these methods. To put it in simple words, there is no well-versed definition that these practices by themselves confer sustainability. It is a vast concept, and it is difficult to determine the real meaning of sustainable farming practices. It may sound simple, but it is a lot tough. There are many questions that revolve around sustainable farming practices and sustainability. Though the answers to these very questions are not black and white, researchers and intellectuals have denied any shortcomings in this concept of farming.
According to different websites and research papers, there are countable measures taken to decide on the principles of sustainable farming practices. Considering the vast concept, here are some of the many principles that are applicable to sustainable farming practices. They are –
- Chain of supply.
- The sovereignty of food.
- The production and consumption of food.
- Fertility of the soil.
- Ecological pest management.
- Agriculture strength.
These principles are as simple as they sound. Sustainable farming practices involve people with sustainable methods to control the food chain and not any corporation. Referring to the food supply chain, sustainable farming practices contribute to rural development and fight poverty and hunger. These methods ensure enable livelihoods in the communities that are safe, healthy, and economically viable. Not to brag, but sustainable farming practices trigger smarter food production and consumption without hampering the environment.
Sustainable farming practices also promote nature’s diversity during all steps of the supply chain. Apart from all this, a major impact of sustainable farming practices is that it protects the fertility of the soil. By promoting sustainable farming practices, we are saving the integrity of the soil. These farming practices also enable farmers to deal with pests and weeds without the use of expensive pesticides. To say the least, sustainable farming practices strengthen our agriculture system and adapt our food system to changing climatic conditions and economic conditions.
Natural sequence farming – a different approach
Natural sequence farming is a method or an approach to farming that was devised by Australian farmer, Peter Andrews. It was in the early 1970s that Peter thought to change the way people set up fields for farming. Since then, people have been calling him a legend. Natural sequence farming is a great method of agriculture, but it seems to be a long shot.
Natural sequence farming is a method of agriculture that involves implementing major earthworks on land that have been devastated by deforestation and other agricultural activities. This method is very much effective. It emulates the role of the natural watercourse to reverse salinity. As a result of which, there is slow erosion and there is an increase in soil and water quality. This leads native vegetation to regenerate and restore in that zone. It is an effective way to turn wasted land into productive land without any industrial or chemical help. It is natural and leads to environmental awareness about the land.
The promise of natural sequence farming
There are numerous anecdotes but little-documented science regarding the efficacy of natural sequence farming. What there is depicts some minor floodplain rehydration, little change in stream flows, some sediment trapping, and some soil improvement. These findings are encouraging, but far from extraordinary. It is not often clear how much each of the several components of natural sequence farming contributes, and the economic arguments for widespread adoption are small.
But, if the evidence becomes available, why wouldn’t farmers simply adopt the procedures as part of a sound economic model? Isn’t it true that all farmers strive to do better during a drought? Natural sequence farming supporters contend that it is difficult for farmers to embrace the practices because government laws prohibit the use of willows, blackberries, and other weeds that they claim are particularly helpful at restoring streams. Governments are correct to be skeptical of this demand to use weeds, and some research suggests that native plants can provide a comparable function. This weed restriction may irritate proponents of natural sequence farming, but it should not be a major hurdle to adoption.
Natural sequence farming can also be considered one of the organic farming practices. Since, there is no evidence, whatsoever, we may not find it in the list of organic farming practices below.
- Crop rotation.
- Green manures and cover crops.
- Manuring and composting
- Intercropping and companion planting.
- Biological pest control.
- Supplemental fertilization.
- Biorational pesticides.
- Buffers and barriers.
While most methods listed above may be organic farming practices, others are organic farming management practices. It is very important to have a deep insight into organic farming practices and their management techniques. These practices may play a vital role in our future. It is predicted that if we continue with our current status in agriculture and farming, the future of agriculture and farming will not be a sweet sight to see. Having said these words, it is evident that organic farming practices are more necessary now than ever.