Organic farming ensures sustainability as food is produced using local resources without harming the environment or human health. Indeed, it is our responsibility to maintain a symbiotic relationship with Nature so as to conserve it for posterity. Robert Hart, Albert Howard and Masanobu Fukuoka have described how one can fulfill the human need for food ecologically.
Robert Hart’s book, “Forest Gardening” (May 1996) describes how to grow the fruit, nuts, vegetables and herbal medicines we need while allowing different life forms to interact, stimulate and support one another. He says: “Because of these family forest gardens, most people in Kerala are to some extent self-sufficient in the basic necessities, above all food. Therefore, poor as they are, they are far better nourished than most other Indians. In Kerala, people grow their own mangoes in their forest gardens, together with some sixty other nourishing food and fodder plants, medicinal herbs, and spices.”
Using the forest as an example, his four principles of natural farming are:
- Mixed cropping is the rule
- The soil must always be protected from the direct action of sun, rain and wind
- The forest manures itself
- Crops and livestock look after themselves
- No cultivation
- No chemical fertilizers or prepared compost
- No weeding by tillage or herbicides
- No dependence on chemicals
Vandana Shiva, the well-known environment activist, has published a book with Vaibhav Singh of Navdanya – “Health per acre”. They propose a shift from chemical-intensive to ecologically-intensive agriculture and biodiversity, from external inputs to internal inputs, from yield per acre to health and nutrition per acre, from food as a commodity to food as nourishment and nutrition.
Link to Vandana Shiva's book 'Health per acre'