Spread the Circle of Organic Farming

Most of us are aware of the hubbub in the wake of the disquieting news of DDT being found in human milk. Four decades back when this information first hit out that human breast milk was contaminated with the pesticide DDT, it had created a furore across the world. Strict restrictions on its use lowered DDT concentrations in human milk.

The pesticide DDT was used since 1940s to control typhus and agricultural pests. However the harmful effects led to a strict ban on its use after the 1970’s. But we still remain riddled with concerns over its existence in the environment for causing irreversible health problems. Similarly conventional farming too remains troubled with the continued use of chemicals in agriculture that affect health of people eating chemical laden food.

Several countries are safely transitioning back to organic methods of farming to obtain healthy produce. Organic farming reverts back to traditional approaches in farming to cultivate food without using fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, growth hormones, chemicals or genetically modified organisms. Organic farming ensures crops do not harbor harmful residues of toxic chemicals. It deploys methods of farming that are sustainable and in sync with nature.

HERD Organic Farms undertakes organic farming and we realize that soil fertility improves dramatically as does productivity over time. We have been making use of natural manure that is produced at the farm by organic practices of composting and production of green manure that makes the soil more productive and fertile. Farm manager Anil Khare states: “Soil treated with organic fertilizers hosts billions of useful bacteria that are useful in breaking down plant residues and livestock wastes into useful soil nutrients to improve soil binding.”

We have also discovered that organic farming establishes biodiversity and that our methodologies have ensured development of a resilient bio-diverse landscape. These natural practices have helped in minimizing erosion of agricultural biodiversity and enhanced species richness and abundance. With absolutely no chemical usage in the farms the landscape has become rich with organic flora and fauna like pollinators and pest pillagers!

In fact organic practices have also prevented water contamination. Since we do not allow water to get exposed to any kind of toxins the soil remains rich in organic matter with salubrious moisture content. It is further a matter of deep satisfaction that ground water retention and infiltration is toxic free. Healthy soil acts like a sponge to keep vegetation well moisturized with unsoiled recharged underground water.

Last but not the least organic farming diminishes conventional energy use by minimizing agricultural chemical needs and addresses the issue of emissions and global warming by repossessing carbon in the soil. Good practices like reduced tillage, crop rotation, nitrogen fixing legumes and so on maximize the carbon concentration in soil. We all know that the more organic carbon stored in soil the more mitigation ability of agriculture against climate change.

Organic farming is truly a win-win situation. Aside from it improving soil binding and reducing runoff, the soil remains nutrient rich resulting in increased soil density causing less runoff. Organic farming also boosts bacteria that help plants fix nitrogen and help utilize and convert these nutrients before they get an opportunity to run-off. With so many benefits why then is organic farming taking so much time to be adopted by all. The fact is that many farmers remain apprehensive about adopting it due to high production costs. Add to this the burden of competing with low prices of conventional produce.

HERD Organic Farms contends with this issue but remains resolute to stand for sustainable organic farming. Even though the yield may be low we know that long term profitability and environmental benefits are in store. Upcoming studies portend that desired yields will come in good time. It is for this reason that we need to extend the circle of influence for promoting organic farming and bring conventional farmers into the fold. To this end HERD Foundation remains committed.

 

 

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Death by Pollution

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Stop Power Projects in Populated Rural Regions

The cost of a polluted environment: 1.7 million child deaths a year, says WHO

Early this month a news release from World Health Organization dated March 6, 2017 stated that more than 1 in 4 deaths of children less than 5 years of age were attributed to unhealthy environments. Environmental risks, that include both indoor and outdoor air pollution, like second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years, every year!

How do we fare on the score in India and closer home around our own urban and
rural environs? Earlier on we were contending with death among children aged 1 month to 5 years with diseases like diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia. These were at least prevented by medical interventions known to reduce risks and with access to safe water and clean cooking fuels.

But polluted environments are now becoming more deadly especially for younger children. The WHO report mentions that – “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.” Harmful exposures actually may start even in the mother’s womb to increase risk of premature births.

Further when infants are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke they have increased risks. Exposure to air pollution may also increase their lifelong risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. Another WHO report provides a comprehensive overview of the environment’s impact on children’s health. The challenges escalate with each passing year.

We in India too are seeing ongoing and emerging environmental threats to children’s health. HERD Foundation has begun to start investing in removal of environmental risks to children’s health, especially in rural areas. We do not want children to be exposed to harmful chemicals through food, water or air around them.

In the largely agricultural rural communities harmful pesticides do find their way into the food chain. HERD Organic Farms is an effort to reduce the use of hazardous pesticides and to avoid using harmful chemicals of food. Organic farming appears to us to be the way out to ensure healthy lives and promote general well-being, particularly to impact children’s health.

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Stop Use of Chemical Pesticides for Agriculture

Why Organic – Why Not Organic

980xThe last decade has seen growing concern all over the world about what we are eating. What we put in our mouths or what we put on our table for our children to eat requires ever closer attention than before. Closer home Beejotsav Nagpur has been drawing attention to this issue. It is essential to understand what organic produce is. All food items grown without use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation are good wholesome food.

Choosing organic foods is therefore the way to benefit public health as well as the health of the earth. Beejotsav Nagpur attempts to do just that. Comprising of a dedicated band of civic conscious activists, urban farmers, rural farmers, organic consumers and more, they also focus on a core dimension of this issue – saving organic seeds. The conservation and propagation of organic and especially heirloom seeds is at the heart of Beejotsav’s endeavors.

Why should one be going in for organic food at all? For one it is safe for our health as it is chemical free. Studies prove that organically grown food has higher amounts of Vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron. These nutrients are vital for healthy functioning of our bodies. Organic fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients and antioxidants which provide energy and keeps the cells in the body young and well nourished.

The moot question is why one should put chemicals in the body. Organic foods avoid using synthetic pesticides that are rampant in non-organic conventional agriculture. Chemical pesticides and herbicides are linked to birth defects, obesity, diabetes and other health issues. While organic foods limit your exposure to carcinogens by removing toxins from food. Each time you choose organic you choose to leave these chemicals off your plate.

Importantly, organic agriculture is great for the earth and its precious soil. Organic farmers face the same challenges as non-organic farmers with regard to weeds, pests, diseases, drought, floods, and nutrient requirements. But they have made the decision to grow food in a way that protects the soil. Organic farmers focus on preserving the soil for future generations by farming in a way that sustains nutrients and harbors beneficial organisms. Organic farming neither causes nor leads to soil erosion, groundwater contamination, dead zones or loss of biodiversity. We now know that organic agriculture limits the effects of climate change too. Organic farmers are extremely dedicated to the excellent quality of their soil. Sustained organic farming will positively impact that soil to keep it healthy forever.

Yes, organic farming and production practices are costlier and more time consuming than present agriculture practices. But the care that goes into growing organic fruits and vegetables is well worth the investment. Demanding more organic produce is a sure way to work out the economics. For all of us who believe in healthy eating we have options to buy organic produce from Beejotsav, HERD Farms, Nagpur Organic Farmers and a host of rural farmers who have on offer good organic produce. Over 35 farmers from Vidarbha would be selling organic products, grains and indigenous seeds at Mure Memorial Grounds on 7-8-9 April. Look it up!!

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