The Organic Way

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The ICAR-National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS&LUP) has identified areas in our country that hold high potential for organic farming. This literally works very well as a ground rule for HERD Organic Farms because the fact is that as per the geo-spatial digital map showing organic carbon stock in the soils of all states, this region of Maharashtra is indeed good for natural organic farming.

HERD Organic Farms is keen to facilitate and dedicate efforts for organic agriculture. The farm team collaborates in the organic processes for cultivation of crops, production of organic manure, undertaking crop rotation, product selection and dissemination of organic farming methods. Farm hands are taught to learn and adopt organic farming techniques, production of green/ organic manure, and use of natural pesticides and herbicides.

The past three years have seen HERD Organic Farms emerge as a trusted source for organic food. With up-to-date documentation on sustainable agriculture practice and soil health, the farm team, led by farm manager Mr Anil Khare, collaborate with organic farming practitioners and academic fraternity to fill gaps in our knowledge. HOF envisions improved health for the soil and its people with due conversion of organic agricultural methodologies.

Operations had begun in March 2015 with the aim to create a model-farm to act as a teaching-learning center for organic farming. In time we hope to scale up efforts to become an example to be followed by farmers in the region. We hope to inspire particularly those farmers who remain uncertain or unconvinced about the concept. We want them to look upon organic farming as a viable venture. It is hoped that they would eventually be persuaded to go the organic way.

Our goal is really to contribute to healthy living for everyone. This is why our major focus is on developing and nurturing in-house organic components so as to strengthen the concept of creating a model organic farm in the region.  With the emphasis on using cost effective methods for organic farming, we also use high-tech innovative ideas on the farm.

We take every opportunity to spread awareness of the benefits of organic produce and the dire consequences of eating unhealthy chemical laden foods. On the farmland we make our own manure and pesticides in a bid to retain soil health. We also ensure organic health of pollinator populations. Our home grown organic pesticides do not have impacts on pollinator health. In fact the diverse food crops benefit such pollinators with increase in food sources.

Actually the organic inputs prevent soil pathogen and keep the soil health in perfect order as proven by the soil tests we undertook. HERD Organic Farms continues to collaborate with the organic growers community to help ensure that the unique realities of organic farmers are better understood and considered by the larger fraternity and possibly to influence the future of organic farming in the region.

We keep intensifying our efforts to benefit both the land and the people. We truly believe the words of Anna Lappé, author and educator – “When we fight for organic food, it connects us to every living creature on the planet, from birds to frogs and pollinators—all those harmed by toxic pesticides”. We look ahead to another year of increased organic produce.

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Soil Health

 

SOIL FACTS – AND WHY SOIL IS IMPORTANT

Soil is the network of interacting living organisms within the earth’s surface layer which support life above ground.

The nutritional value of the food we eat is directly related to the health of the soil in which it grows (or what it eats grows).

Management of agricultural soils should consider the structural, biological and mineral health of the soil (not just N, P, K) to produce nutritionally-dense food.

Soil has varying amounts of organic matter (living and dead organisms), minerals, and nutrients.

An average soil sample is 45% minerals, 25%, 25% air, and 5% organic matter (less in degraded soils).

Carbon is a master variable within the soil that controls many processes, such as development of soil structure, water storage and nutrient cycling.

Soil high in organic carbon content enables better rainfall infiltration & retention – providing greater resilience to drought.

Every gram of soil organic carbon can hold up to 8 grams of water.

Soils are vulnerable to carbon loss through degradation, but regenerative land management practices can build soil and restore soil health.

Soil erosion within conventional agricultural practices can occur at rates up to 100 times greater than the rate of natural soil formation.

Natural processes can take more than 500 years to form 2 centimeters of topsoil.

Soil carbon takes three distinct forms: living carbon, labile carbon and fixed carbon.

– Living carbon takes the form of microbes, fungi, plant roots, nematodes, earth worms etc.

– Labile carbon in the soil comprises decomposing (dead) plant and animal material that is in a state of transition.

– Fixed carbon in the soil consists of stable compounds as humates and glomalins.

…Sequestered Carbon comprises the fixed carbon plus the total living biomass.

Soil stores 10% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Around 95% of our food is directly or indirectly produced on our soils.

Soil microbes have a symbiotic relationship with plants – plants provide sugars to microbes and microbes make nutrients bio-available for plants.

Living organisms in soil ultimately control water infiltration, mineral density and nutrient cycling.

Fungi and bacteria help break down organic matter in the soil and earthworms digest organic matter, recycle nutrients, and make the surface soil richer.

In a handful of fertile soil, there are more individual organisms than the total number of human beings that have ever existed.

Soil is one of the most complex biological materials on our planet.

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Image Courtesy – Google

World Soil Day 2017 – ‘Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground’

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It was only in 2002 that the International Union of Soil Sciences or IUSS adopted a resolution proposing December 5 as World Soil Day to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of our natural resources. In truth natural soil is a vital contributor to human well being. Recognizing this fact FAO supports the formal establishment of World Soil Day by creating solidarity for Global Soil Partnership. Since 2012 FAO-GSP has been organizing awareness events for this important day.

HERD Organic Farms is diligent in raising awareness about World Soil Day. Soil is an essential resource and a vital part of our natural environment from which our food is produced. Human beings have survived because it is soil that nourished and nurtured generations. Alongside soil continues to provide living spaces for us humans. Importantly soil is critical in maintaining our essential ecosystem. It regulates water, climate and conserves biodiversity as well as enables carbon sequestration.

It is disheartening that in present times soils continue to be under pressure due to human factors. Increasing population and high demand of land-use for needs other than food cultivation remain two debilitating reasons. Industrialization and urbanization are directly responsible for ruining soils. Additionally 33% of global soils suffer from degradation. This is what brings FAO sponsored Global Soil Partnerships into play in order to have policy makers around the world explore opportunities to embrace sustainable development.

A global community of 60,000 soil scientists has been given the responsibility to generate and communicate soil knowledge for the common good of the world. World Soil Day observes the importance of soil as a critical component of our natural systems or growing food and ensuring biodiversity as well as containing climate change. The need is to promote the regenerative landscape for integrated management of soil, water, vegetation and biodiversity.

HERD Organic Farms supports the need for maintaining healthy soils. It is really very important so that we enable sustainable agricultural production which is ultimately good for the environment and human health. The way things are going now soon soil may be a finite natural resource. We dread the day when it may even become non-renewable. It would do well for us all to remember that soil plays an essential role in our wellbeing.

Climate change and desertification are increasingly degrading soil worldwide. Our own environs are getting affected by power-plants and factories that spew forth pollutants that add to further degradation of soil resources. It is time we worked towards mitigating inappropriate technologies to safeguard soils. Also we need to instill safer agri-management practices to replenish soils. With regard to population pressure we may do well by understanding about the carrying capacity of the land.

Soil organic carbon (SOC) forms the basis of soil health, fertility, and food production. A healthy soil with an ideal amount of SOC (the main component of soil organic matter) can provide optimal plant growing conditions, functional nutrient cycling and effective water infiltration and storage. Agricultural soils are among the planet’s largest reservoirs of carbon and hold potential for expanded carbon sequestration, and thus provide a prospective way of mitigating the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.

World Soil Day 2017 therefore focuses on activities with the aim to communicate messages on the importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being. The first ever Global Soil Organic Carbon map (GSOCmap) is being launched on World Soil Day 2017! The GSOC map is not just a map! It is also a comprehensive process that supports the development and empowerment of national capacities to build their national soil information systems. Please click on the link to open the GSOCmap web application:

http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/worldwide-events/en/

Ensuring Organic Futures

 

 

Organic Farming is spreading like a revolution not only in our country but in the entire world today. In fact the roots of revival of organic farming can be traced back to India! It was Albert Howard and his wife Gabrielle Howard, both skillful botanists, who founded the Institute of Plant Industry at Indore to improve traditional farming methods in pre-independent India.

Working with local farmers they found they had much to learn from them. And so it was that alongside scientific knowledge they incorporated local traditional methods like crop rotation practices, erosion prevention techniques, and use of composts and manures. Upon return to Britain they carried back these experiences to propagate natural agriculture. Albert Howard is one of the key founders of modern organic agriculture.

Consumer’s today are increasingly getting health cautious regarding their diet. This is an important aspect for transformation of farming practices to benefit the land and the people. Organic food produce having high nutritive value and absence of chemicals, potential carcinogenic and mutagenic properties is preferred over conventional agroproducts cultivated by using insecticides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

Realizing the high potential of organic farming techniques for the land and its people, HERD Organic Farms was established in March 2015. HOF is practicing organic farming techniques over the past three years on its 40 acres farmland located at village Chargaon, 60 kms from Nagpur city. The ultimate aim of the enterprise is to extend knowledge of organic cultivation practices to benefit neighboring rural farmers in a bid to spread awareness and increase organic food production. It is also to build a momentum for the demand of organic produce.

With gaining popularity of organic produce and a steady buildup of a consumer base willing to pay a premium price, it is important to extend the cost advantage for the benefit of conventional agriculturists. HOF therefore hopes to develop a farming community that adopts organic farming on a mass scale to target niche markets for organic food produce.

Realizing the need to improve the health of the land and the people, HOF joined hands to become part of organic grower’s fraternity in Nagpur city.  Eventually the plan is to scale up a cooperative of organic farmers to facilitate organic food production and processing for supply to existing markets. It is hoped that with due expansion adjoining rural farmers may be included for propagation of organic farming.

HERD Organic Farms was established to promote a system of farming without use of synthetic fertilizers or chemical sprays. It was envisioned right from the start to maintain soil fertility through livestock compost, green manures, crop rotation, and mulching. Setting up cutting-edge net-shed cultivation alongside open field agriculture, we aim for methods that are sustainable and ecological to ensure long-term fertility and wholesome food for us and for future generations.

We remain committed to organic practices to safeguard human health and the environment. To achieve this we need to change mindsets to introduce the philosophy and practice of organic farming. This is what motivates us to step up awareness for organic produce to create a world that will sustain life. We will continue to maintain the soil health of our unique planet.

In order to go about doing this we need to develop ongoing relationships between ourselves as organic growers and the economic system. One of the major challenges till date is fixing premium pricing for organic produce vis-à-vis chemically laced food. We still need to develop farming systems that produce the necessary quantity and quality of food so that we make it economically viable for all. For in all certainty organic farming is the future.

HERD Pharmacy – To The Fore

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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

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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.