Images – Courtesy Google


Started in March 2017, HERD Logistics emerges as a reliable goods-transport service division of the HERD Group of Companies. Headquartered at Nagpur, in Central India, the unit offers transportation services coupled with tailor-made solutions to meet the requirements of its clients. Forging working-links with some of the best-in-the-business it combines broad outreach and grip over local market realities to give operations its cutting edge.

Providing hassle-free freight services from the center of the country, HERD Logistics offers 360 degree radius coverage. Its forte lies in planning, executing and control over movement of consignments. These suitably match with its ability to manage smooth run of goods while in motion from destination to destination. Also consignments are covered by insurance thereby assuring safety of goods.

Leveraging on wide-ranging logistics and communications outreach, the team working on this unit efficiently create cost-effective solutions tailored to meet all kinds of transport needs. It has therefore established itself through flawless freight forwarding services, carefully synchronized with factors like timeliness, flexibility, swiftness, safety and reliability.

The division works with the twin mission of –

  • Being committed to providing inclusive logistic solutions in an efficient, reliable and affordable manner, and
  • Gaining and retaining confidence and trust of valued customers by conducting business with complete honesty and integrity.

The Team comprises of professionals led by Mr Shriram Paralkar who knows all there is to know about the business.  Alongside Mr Vijay Satpute efficiently manages tasks to serve people and organizations in need of transport operations, cutting across state borders. Together they successfully handle operations with in-depth understanding of the trade.

It is this team that is the driving force for HERD Logistics to facilitate our unmatched services. Their guidance takes the company to new levels, charting out new territories for expansion. As an upcoming logistics service provider, HERD Logistics offers transportation of goods and materials and relocation of all kinds of cargo across destinations.

HERD Logistics is distinguished through its operational excellence which is the corner stone of all integrated logistics solutions that the division offers to clients. The team of professionals monitors every aspect of the operational performance. With required formats and best practices in place we maintain optimal control over operations.

The company believes there is always room for continuous improvements. We focus on developing highly advanced logistics technology through in-house facility of skilled IT personnel. Our key strength lies in seizing business opportunities for which we rely more on our proven track record of quality operations and a tradition of integrity.

We have consistently demonstrated collaborative approaches that are the backbone of this business. We work with clients to offer the most suitable logistic solutions tailored to meet their exact needs. Our work methodology enables us to create a name to reckon with and our work ethos helps us deliver efficient cargo services. We have always remained duly responsible for stock control and timely delivery.

The works are equipped with modern communications that helps in accessing and handling entire relocation and cargo transportation needs for customers. The latest tracking facilities enable us to provide exact status of the consignment on the move. Moreover, our experienced team can quickly assess a critical situation, identify transportation alternatives and implement a delivery solution that meets your time and cost requirements.

Following strict safety standards and superior quality control we take pride in our professionalism and speedy execution of assignments. Under the proactive style of working and association formed with leading freight forwarding companies that extend due support we hope to reach every corner of the land.



Image – Courtesy Google

HERD Transport is a division under HERD Medical Foundation Pvt. Ltd. that caters to running of school buses. The enterprise was initially undertaken to cater to school transportation needs of affiliated schools. With time the scope of services widened to include management of school bus operations for additional schools. The division has valid certification from Regional Transport Office and the company duly follows norms laid by Maharashtra State for running of school-bus services.

A reliable team of bus-drivers, bus-conductors and lady conductors is on the rosters. HERD Transport works with the mission of delivering unfailing and efficient services at affordable cost. Mr. Shriram Paralkar, Transport Manager is the key person responsible for managing the venture. He has extensive experience in procedural management of running school buses, and offers his commitment in ensuring dependable transportation services for children to attend school in a safe and timely manner.

HERD Transport is steadily being recognized as a dependable transport agency, and is well known for its school commute services. It offers trustworthy and secure travel for children in excellent vehicles that are regularly checked for upkeep and safety.  The use of integrated technology for smooth operations is a key feature of HERD Transport school buses.

On offer is transportation amenity for eligible urban and rural students and students with special needs too. All may avail of transport assistance for school commute in the readily recognizable yellow bus school service. HERD Transport assists parents by providing dependable conveyance for children at reasonable costs to and fro. The company now runs school bus services for a number of schools.

School Bus Services:

  • Routes for various schools are designed to pick-up and drop-off students in the safest and most practical way.
  • Travel fare is calculated for distance at a concessional fare as compared to other modes of transport.
  • Our school buses travel on designated routes and students are picked up and dropped off at designated locations along these routes.
  • School bus services ensure students are provided with allocated seats so as promote comfort and discipline.

HERD Transport remains determined in safeguarding every hazard and to solicit supportive hand-holding from our school partners in joining in to do our utmost to further improve child road safety commute through a range of measures including education and vigilance.

The team believes it is particularly important to do all we can to promote road safety for children on their school journey. This is why we continually keep guiding, raise awareness and make recommendations for how school authorities and our school transport operators can work together to  reduce journey risk and improve the safety of children travelling to and from school.

Traveling by school bus is seven times safer than traveling by car… For perspective…, more than 30,000 people are killed in traffic crashes every year annually” ~~ NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

HERD Pharmacy – To The Fore


HERD Pharmacy emerges as the most visible business face among HERD Group of Companies. The medical stores are continually scaling projected targets and it is the ethos of team spirit that has them being perceived as a successful chain. The pharmacy team comprises of young and enthusiastic staff who have exhibited their propensity in bringing HERD Pharmacy to its present level of visibility in the pharmacy market in and around Nagpur.

The plan is to keep scaling beyond present pharma trends and exceed consumer expectations. The company delivers a wide range of quality medicines and medical products. HERD Pharmacy chain of medical stores is all geared up to take its success story forward. Established in November 2015, it is a nascent pharmacy chain, but the company has good experience of wholesale pharmaceuticals business having been in the business of hospital medical supplies.

HERD Pharmacy is managed by healthcare professionals and this makes all the difference. Established by Doctors of Medicine and run by professional pharmacists, it is this specialized education and training that has managers performing their roles to satisfaction. The sales staff works with the sole aim of ensuring optimal health to the patients who come in for medicines. It is this care and knowledge that becomes the underlying USP for HERD Pharmacy.

Pharmacy managers, ingrained in pharma practice know full well about the mode of action of a particular drug, its metabolism and physiological effects on human body in great detail. They play an important role in optimization of a drug treatment for people in need of medication. It is this fundamental role that they play that creates trust and faith for our customers.

The pharmacy technicians support the work of pharmacists and other health professionals by performing a variety of tasks that includes dispensing prescription drugs and other medical devices to patients and instructing on their use. They also perform administrative duties in pharmaceutical practice such as reviewing prescription requests, and suggesting in store medications. HERD Pharmacy offers the under mentioned services through its trained team of staff and pharmacists in a heartfelt manner:

  • All-Day Service and All-Night Service Outlets
  • Credit and Debit Card Facility Available
  • Prescription Reminder Service to Regular Patients
  • Most Medicines Stored In Stated Specific Atmospheric Condition to Maintain Efficacy and Quality of Drugs.
  • Our Air Conditioned Outlets Create Ambient Shopping Environment
  • Trained Pharmacists in Stores at All Times
  • Customer Friendly Store Offering Pleasant Shopping Experience
  • We Stock Well To Make Sure The Prescription Does Not Bounce
  • The CBU Holds 20000+ Medications to be Supplied To Pharmacy Stores
  • Every Product at Our Store Is Carefully Chosen And Scrutinized Thoroughly
  • We Meet the Standards Of Safety And Efficacy.
  • Product Are Stored/Transported/Displayed With Utmost Care To Maintain Cold Chain And Other Storage And Transportation Norms.

Prepare for the Season of Cough & Cold


Image Courtesy Google

The winter season is upon us. Already many of us are walking about with sore throats and runny noses. Despite taking full care to avoid the chills we end up feeling cold, frazzled and feverish. The cold and flu season has finally arrived. And even as we find relief in hot ginger tea or comforting soups we just want to lie down and snuggle up inside warm blankets.

The cold air mixed with dust and other pollutants that keeps circulating outdoors is the main cause of our maladies and the reason why we feel so miserable. It would therefore be good if one takes due care and learns how best to avoid catching infections. Preparing ahead will do us a world of good. If we take steps to reduce risk of being sick we stand a better chance of staying fit. Nobody likes wasting days in bed.

Prevention as they say is better than cure. It is best to primarily avoid getting sick and a flu shot is your best bet at staying healthy. But in case you catch a cold then it may be a good idea to prepare a survival kit well in advance so as to wrestle with the viruses when they attack. It is recommended that maintaining a healthy routine is fundamental to staying fit and well.

Nothing like restful sleep at night for a good 7-8 hours to wake up early morning absolutely refreshed. Findings of a minor study done eight years back suggest that people getting less than seven hours of sleep were three times more likely to catch a cold than those who got at least eight hours. So sleep well and half your winter troubles will take care of themselves.

Colds and flu are spread through droplets in sneezes and coughs which means anyone within a three-foot radius is at risk for contracting it! But flu can also live on hard surfaces for 24 hours. Remember to keep washing your hands all the time as it is still the best method of protection. So every time you come in make sure you wash your hands with water and soap. Also make it a habit to keep all surfaces indoors clean by regular dusting. This will reduce the spread of flu microbes around the household or the workplace. This is crucial especially for people who can’t afford to be sick – moms and caregivers with family responsibilities, and dads and breadwinners who can’t skip their jobs.

The best thing to do is to keep handy a cold and flu survival kit early on. It would be great to put together necessary items sooner than later so that you are well prepared before the season catches you unawares. Colds and coughs are contagious illnesses and you can feel the uneasy signs – itchy throats, watery eyes and moist nasal cavities prior to it hitting you head on. So before the fever breaks get this together so you don’t have to step out when you are really sick.

  • Anti-fever medicines
  • Nasal drops
  • Cold and sinus infection medicines
  • Cough drops or syrup
  • Antiviral treatment remedies

It’s a good idea to have other essential things like a thermometer, paper tissues, cold compresses, or a hot water bottle and so on. Natural honey is great for reducing throat irritation. Keep yourself well hydrated with plentiful fluids – water, herbal teas, juices and soups. When in bed you could always complete your reading so get a good book that will keep your mind away from your sickness. Or you could indulge yourself with binge watching TV. But make sure you sleep well and long at night.

The Changing Interview Process

There are interesting changes happening within HERD HR unit that is looking to adopt more efficient and quick processes to being more techno-savvy in its working. From processing and filing resumes efficiently to going online through Skype and Facetime to interview prospective candidates – the team is taking on exciting options. They are also exploring all kinds of technical opportunities that may best assist in sourcing employees with the required skills to be able to collate highly effective business teams.

It is management at the top that is at the heart for bringing about these futuristic trends and transformations. Wanting more efficient methods with the idea to do away with traditional interview techniques that focused too much on factors that allowed for delays and postponements, the new-age techniques help in identifying tech friendly and tech-users required in today’s increasingly digital world.

Online interviews are now the staple of many tech-savvy recruiters. Besides saving time, money and resources on personal interviews they allow for instant real-world feel and conditions without the hassle of arranging a formal face to face discussion.  It seems okay to do away with the rigors of regular interviews and adopt the perceivable superficiality of online interviews. One of the best things to happen is that there is a lot less stress for interviewees and the digital barrier makes them free and open to stating their mind

It then appears to be a life-line in this day and age to be able to recruit tech savvy candidates who are more than willing to go through screen interviews to explain their inclinations to be keen for the job profile. For HERD HR it is now increasingly becoming a neat hiring process to scan candidates and be able to adjudge on screen what they do not want to opt for. Yes the declining route certainly becomes easier.

There is naturally many a pitfall between the resume and the real person. And if one is able to discern this while talking online you may gather as much as you would from a face to face consultation and say no to the person without much compunction. While it is true that HERD HR hiring practices have earlier scrutinized qualified candidates and noted them wanting in certain areas as to required credentials, but in online cases it just becomes so much easier to say no.

We are also aware that the digital way may have them in a position to access answers with online information to give all the correct technical responses. Also we may not be able to really comprehend the culture fit talking to a person online. However the team keeps an open mind on this count to be aware that while they look for people who fit in with what the culture is but it is also a good idea to keep ourselves open to new prospects and new perspectives.

With varied business units under the belt, HERD Group of Companies can very well do with a mix and match of talent recruiting. Online talent scouting and interviews are just another convenient process to scout for a good thing if it comes by. The important thing is to ensure that anyone with the requisite skills and matching credentials will get an equal if not quicker shot at being taken in through this hiring process. This will not only be good for the person it will be good for the company and the business too.

The HERD HR team is quite accustomed by now to this recruiting procedure and recruiters too are more open to it than in-person interviews. With advances in modern technology our HR professionals make the process easier and more efficient and fortunately they do not dilute the human element. Video interviews do away with travel costs and allow for scheduling at everyone’s convenience.

The convenience provided by this technology is readily being acknowledged and spurring the team to adopt it more extensively. It is especially great for far flung and even out-station candidates. It allows for visibility into a candidate’s qualifications, presence, and skills in a more convenient atmosphere for the recruiter. In a world of greater connectivity it is just the thing to happen more and more now.

Roselle – Our Very Own Humble Ambadi


Images – Courtesy Wikipedia

Roselle, botanical name Hibiscus sabdariffa, better known as Ambadi or Gongura in India, is a species of Hibiscus that is said to have originated from West Africa. This annual or perennial herb is a woody shrub like plant that may grow up to 2–2.5 meters in height.  The leaves are three lobed, long, and arranged alternately on the stems. It was cultivated for the production of bast fiber, but now increasingly its leaves and flowers are a culinary delight in most parts of the world.

Ambadi is cultivated for a wide variety of uses and we are told there are actually very many other uses of the plant, besides being grown for culinary purposes. It is primarily grown for use in recipes because of its sharp, tangy taste. Besides, it also offers a number of health benefits. Known by other names like common sorrel, spinach dock, and narrow-leaved dock, even the roots stretching deep into the ground offer medicinal uses.

Red flowers blooming on the plant appear very attractive. The flowers are 8–10 cm in diameter and have a stout fleshy calyx at the base and take about six months to mature. The red calyces of the plant are also used as food colorings, besides being used in varied recipes. The green leaves are used like a tangy version of spinach and recipes from all corners abide.

In our parts the Ambadi leaves are mixed with green chillies, salt, and some garlic to prepare chutney which is served with traditional Jowar or Bajra roti. So also a dry vegetable is prepared from Ambadi leaves. Another recipe has the leaves steamed with lentils and cooked with dal. Another unique dish is prepared by mixing fried leaves with spices and made into a gongura pacchadi, the most famous dish of Andhra cuisine.

Best of all is the cool drink or sharbat made from flowers of Ambadi. It is prepared by boiling dried petals of the flowers infused in hot water for 8 to 10 minutes or until the water turns red. To this is added sugar and the drink is served chilled. The drink is one of the most inexpensive beverages common during summer time. It is very popular in rural areas of Maharashtra.

The health benefits of Ambadi include its ability to boost eyesight, slow the aging process, reduce certain skin infections, strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, build strong bones, increase circulation, increase energy levels, help prevent cancer, lower blood pressure, increase appetite, protect against diabetes, strengthen heart health, and improve the kidney health.

HERD Organic Farms is growing organic Ambadi. Given below is the nutritional value of Ambadi:

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) / Energy 205 kJ (49 kcal) / Carbohydrates 11.31 g / Fat 0.64 g / Protein 0.96 g

Vitamins – Vitamin A equiv. (2%) 14 mg / Thiamine (B1) (1%) 0.011 mg / Riboflavin (B2)      (2%) 0.028 mg / Niacin (B3) (2%) 0.31 mg / Vitamin C (14%) 12 mg

Minerals – Calcium (22%) 215 mg / Iron  (11%) 1.48 mg / Magnesium  (14%) 51 mg / Phosphorus (5%) 37 mg / Potassium (4%) 208 mg / Sodium 6 mg

World Diabetes Day 2017



Images – Courtesy Google

November 14, observed as World Diabetes Day is the biggest diabetes awareness campaign that has run since 1991. Initiated by International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and World Health Organization (WHO) it reaches out to a global audience of more than one billion people of over 160 countries. The day is earmarked to respond to concerns about escalating health hazards caused by diabetes.

The UNO declared the day to be noted as the official World Diabetes Day. The date was identified to coincide with the birth anniversary of scientist and Nobel laureate Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin. A number of awareness activities get organized around the theme identified for a particular year. In 2016 the theme was – Eyes on Diabetes, and this year’s theme is – Women and Diabetes: Our Right to a Healthy Future.

The 2017 World Diabetes Day promotes the significance of inexpensive and equitable access for all women patients to required diabetes medicines, self-management education and information for optimizing diabetes outcomes. The aim is to ensure and strengthen their capacity to prevent type 2 diabetes. The focus is especially on women living with diabetes or those who are likely to be afflicted by the disease.

It appears there are about 199 million women suffering and this figure will escalate to 313 million by 2040. Two out of every five women with diabetes are in reproductive age group, totaling to 60 million women worldwide. Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2.1 million deaths each year. Women with type 2 diabetes are ten times more likely to suffer coronary heart disease than non-diabetic women. Women with type 1 diabetes are also at risk of early miscarriage or to have babies with malformations.

It is imperative to combat this situation and for this reason medical help needs to pay complete attention to the specific needs of women. Women with diabetes must have access to medication and treatment options to be able to handle the management of the disease. More importantly women with diabetes should have access to pre-conception planning services to reduce risk during pregnancy.

This day also emphasizes the importance of physical exercise for women and girls for them to improve their condition. It lays stress that pregnant women should get screening and every information for achieving positive outcomes for both themselves and their baby. The fact of the matter is that 1 in 7 births are affected by gestational diabetes. Nearly 20.9 million live births to women in 2015 suffered from some form of hyperglycemia in pregnancy.

Approximately half of diabetic women go on to develop type 2 diabetes within five to ten years after delivery. And, half of all cases of hyperglycemia in pregnancy occur in women under the age of 30. Studies indicate that majority of cases of hyperglycemia in pregnancy come from low and middle-income respondents having limited access to maternal care.

There are a number of strategies that need to be taken up on priority basis. Type 2 diabetes prevention strategies have to focus on maternal health and nutrition both before and during pregnancy, as well as infant and early childhood nutrition. Antenatal care visits during pregnancy must take into account early detection of diabetes. Screening for diabetes should be integrated into other maternal health interventions to ensure reduced maternal mortality.

World Diabetes Day is therefore marked to raise awareness and provide information on diabetes; more so if there is a family history of diabetes. In such case one has the genetic disposition to get the disease that may also be triggered by lifestyle conditions. Diagnosis and due diligence manages the disease well. Lifestyle modifications, controlling obesity, balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management and regular checkups for blood sugar monitoring and intake of medicines allows diabetics to live reasonably healthy lives.

Smog-Apocalypse: Death by Breathing


It was the London of the 20th century mired in low hanging pollution that infiltrated the foggy city, when the word “smog” was coined for the first time. Today many Indian cities face this lethal condition. And many more will soon face yet more dire consequences if corrective steps are not taken. A known reason for pollution laden air is of course our ever increasing vehicular traffic. Add to this industrial smoke and effluents coming out everywhere. Lace this with construction dust, crop burning smoke and mushrooming thermal power stations. Soon our towns and villages too will be engulfed in this all pervasive smoggy grip.

There was a time when we actually romanticized the morning mist and thought of it as clouds settled on earth! The charming smoky invisible pall was actually cast by water droplets in the air! Sunlight reflecting off this hazy atmosphere was sans pollution. With the land cooling down, air became less able to hold moisture and water condensed in the air. This is the fog that happens in early winter mornings that automatically gets erased when the sun comes out.

There are all kinds of fog. Radiation fog is when temperatures are cold and there are no winds. Valley fog is fog that fills a valley and may last up to days because of the unique topographical layout. Upslope fog happens on hillsides while coastal fog occurs on coastlines. When fog forms ice crystals over surfaces it’s known as freezing fog. But fog turns into nasty haze when pollutants carried by wind currents gather and settle with the fog. This pollution laden hazy fog full of low-lying ozone is what is now commonly known as smog.

Smog is a killer. It makes you cough and burns eyes since it’s made up of ozone. When pollutants like nitrogen oxides react with the sunlight to form ozone then it’s not such a good idea to breathe it. Aside from sore throats and eye irritation it can lead up to chronic asthma. It also severely impacts productivity of agriculture in rural areas. These symptoms are now very common in most Indian towns and cities.

Smog is now a real threat to our social and ecological damage. Air pollution is certainly a very serious issue. In rural areas it is fuel-wood and biomass burning and in urban sites it is adulterated fuel, vehicle emission, traffic congestion and factory smoke that are major sources of pollutants that smog up particulate pollution to gag people. Although India has a low per capita emissions of greenhouse gases but the country as a whole is the third largest polluter after China and USA.

Continued exposure to particulate matter leads to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer and heart attacks. Since 2010 studies have been revealing that outdoor air pollution is the fifth-largest killer in India. Around 620,000 early-deaths occurred from air pollution-related diseases in 2010 itself. According to a WHO study 13 of the 20 most-polluted cities in the world are in India. And the 2016 Environmental Performance Index ranked India 141 out of 180 countries.

There has been vociferous activism mostly by science backed NGOs that spurred action for improvements in air quality testing and monitoring. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act was passed in 1981 to regulate air pollution. In 2015 the government together with IIT Kanpur launched the National Air Quality Index. In the last fifteen years India has been working unremittingly on regulatory reforms for improving its air quality. Most Indian cities however continue to violate air quality PM10 targets.

Respirable particulate matter pollution continues to be a key challenge. In May 2014 the World Health Organisation announced New Delhi as the most polluted city in the world. In November 2016, the great smog of Delhi created an environmental event that saw the city and neighboring region covered in dense smog. The present scenario is not much different and once again north India is struck by smoggy conditions with thick haze and air quality remaining at hazardous levels. Aside from the NCR area many more cities are experiencing smog with people literally gasping for breath. Smog-apocalypse or death by breathing is actually a fact now. Click on the link below to check out air pollution in India – Real-time Air Quality Index Visual Map:


The Winter Blues

For some of us winters are a sad time. Literally! Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a condition that surfaces when the chill sets in and the sun loses its sheen. It is more commonly known as winter depression, seasonal depression or whimsically the winter blues. The phase is actually a mood disorder for some people who enjoy absolutely normal mental health otherwise. But come winters and they begin to exhibit symptoms of depression.

This distinctive mood disorder recurs like clockwork in colder months for persons affected by the syndrome. They are usually in great condition for the rest of the year. Recognized as a specific disorder, this condition was earlier overlooked due to uncertainty and doubts. But now SAD is identified as a major depressive disorder. People suffering from it exhibit feelings of hopelessness, disinterest and withdrawal from social interaction. Sleep patterns and eating habits get affected making them feel lethargic and agitated.

It is normal for SAD people to over-sleep, over-eat or not eat at all. Waking up in the morning is difficult and they may experience a craving for carbohydrates. However every individual case may be different but insomnia and weight gain or conversely weight loss appears to add to their anxiety. Very often listlessness sweeps down making them averse to activity. The reduction of sunlight also adds to their difficulties to deal with themselves in the cold weather.

Some of us tend to feel low during the winter months but not all of us may be affected by SAD. It is believed that SAD is related to a lack of serotonin that plays its part in the disruptive malady. Serotonin in the brain regulates anxiety, happiness, and mood. Low levels of the chemical are associated with depression-like behavior. Another view is that lack of melatonin production in dim winter light affects the body’s control over the inherent circadian clock resulting in a slowdown or disturbed psyches.

People susceptible to SAD may therefore suffer from personality related afflictions. Correlations have been found between winter depression and personality traits like neuroticism, inability to cope and avoidance of normal living. Winter blues are now clearly associated with these four specific patterns:

  • Depressive episodes occurring at a particular time of year.
  • Remissions or mania/hypomania at the same characteristic time year.
  • Patterns last beyond couple of years with no non-seasonal depressive episodes.
  • Seasonal depressive episodes outnumber other depressive episodes in a lifetime.

Cloud cover contributes to negative effects of SAD. Seasonal mood variations related to light or rather lack of light are effectively rectified by using bright-light therapy. With clear evidence that SAD patients are affected by delay in their circadian rhythm, bright light treatment corrects such conditions. Also, winter blues may not have people feeling terribly depressed but perhaps simply experiencing lack of energy in performing everyday activities. Such blue feelings can be extinguished by exercise and increased outdoor activity.

People need to take advantage of sunny days to improve their mood and energy levels. When the sun is not out then indoor bright-light therapy can be made use of.   Light therapy can also consist of exposure to sunlight by spending more time outside when the sun is out. For more troubled patients antidepressants are effective. Depending on the patient’s condition light treatment or anti-depressants may be used alternately to improve the disorder.

In winters people also suffer from low vitamin D levels as they do not get enough ultraviolet-B on their skin. An alternative to using bright lights is to take vitamin D supplements. However, studies do not show a link between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms. Physical exercise is effective for containing depression. Patients exposed to exercise along with bright light therapy whether natural or otherwise seem to make quick recovery. So chalk out your winter exercise schedule outdoors or indoors in brightly lit gyms and see your blues disappear.

Origins of Organic Farming

Agricultural practices all over the world naturally started out pristine and unsullied. But by the middle of the 19th century with the creation of fertilizers to safeguard and increase production, they gradually became popular in usage. Likewise with the advent of chemical pesticides by the 1940s the pesticide era began in all earnest in the agriculture sector.

These modern techniques were adopted all over the world evidently for the benefits clearly visible. What was not recognized was the serious long term damage that was to occur to the soil, soil fertility, and human health. Today there is no denying that toxic chemicals have entered our food supplies. This is why agricultural scientists had to look for ways to remedy the situation.

While it was imperative to maintain production levels for a burgeoning population, biodynamic agriculture soon became essential for cultivation of organic food. Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian visionary made the first known presentation in a series of lectures for what later came to be known as organic agriculture. His study was in response to farmers who were troubled by degrading soil conditions and deterioration in health and quality of crops by use of chemical fertilizers.

Next, Albert Howard and his wife Gabrielle Howard, both skillful botanists, founded an Institute of Plant Industry to improve traditional farming methods in pre-independent India. Working with upgraded implements and scientific methods they incorporated aspects of local traditional methods. These included evolved practices of crop rotation, erosion prevention techniques, and use of composts and manures. Upon return to Britain they carried back these experiences in traditional farming to propagate natural agriculture.

Subsequently, Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, a German soil scientist, author of Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening came to UK at behest of Walter James, 4th Baron Northbourne to make his presentation at the Conference on Biodynamic Farming. The conference brought together several proponents of organic agriculture that broadened the scope and movement. Albert Howard also attended this conference and later Northbourne published his manifesto of organic farming entitled “Look to the Land” in which he first coined the term “organic farming.”

Subsequently Howard too published a book called “An Agricultural Testament” in which he adopted the terminology “organic farming.” Howard’s work spread far and wide and he become famous as “father of organic farming” for his scientific knowledge and principles of various traditional and natural methods. Meanwhile in the United States J.I. Rodale, who was captivated by Howard’s ideas and biodynamics founded a working organic farm – The Rodale Institute along with a Rodale Press that taught and advocated organic methods to a wider public.

In our times increased environmental awareness has brought organic farming to the fore. However it took decades to bring organic farming to its present juncture. Despite offers of grants and subsidies, it was lack of break-even profit line in organic farming that kept farmers tilling the land with fertilizers and pesticides. Later the world realized the ill-effects of soil loss and human health issues and responded with traditional methods that were comparable to organic farming, more or less.

However, even now it is difficult to obtain certified organic produce as some lacunae still exists, largely for economic reasons.  The good thing about organic farming is that it encourages crop diversity. The science of agroecology emphasizes benefits of poly-culture that occurs in organic farming. Planting a variety of vegetable crops supports a wider range of beneficial insects, soil microorganisms, and other factors that add up to overall soil health.

Crop diversity helps environments to flourish and protects species. Soil management is therefore key to organic farming. It relies greatly on the natural breakdown of organic matter, using techniques like manure and composting, necessary to replace nutrients taken from the soil by previous crops. It is a biological process that facilitates microorganisms to be added naturally with nutrients to the soil, what is better known as – feeding the soil to feed the plant!

Today, organic farming is practiced almost all over the world. Nearly hundred odd countries are involved in replenishing soils to counter the ill-effects of earlier used chemicals. The changed mindset of consumers all over the world is evident of a demand driven sector. Most countries promote organic farming in a bid to restore soil health and cleaning up the environment. Global organic tracts measure to nearly 26 million hectares and world over there are 61 standards and 364 certification bodies.

The world organic market in the US alone is worth 26 billion US$. Organic area in India measures to about 2.5 million hectare and includes certified forest areas. Interestingly non-certified organic areas are greater than certified organic area. The National Centre of Organic Farming under Ministry of Agriculture promotes organic farming across the country to provide assistance to organic farmers.