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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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 Organic Farms Chargaon

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Two years back Herd Organic Farms began cultivating and producing organic produce. Looking to the fact that organic agri-produce needed a shot in the arm to boost both adoption of cultivation practices and adaption to modify eating habits, HERD Organic Farms at Chargaon became part of the revival of traditional agricultural practices, to revert back to as they were prior to advent of chemical fertilizers.

The organic agriculture scene today may not be exploding with organic produce but its demand and popularity is certainly rising steadily. More and more people are getting into the organic food fold and they do so because it is safer, healthier and tastier. Additionally it is better for the environment too – for the soil, land, water and the well-being of animals.

Organic food actually focuses on the process of how such crops are produced. They are grown without the use of artificial chemicals, hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified organisms. And to be recognized as organic a product must be free of artificial food additives, so no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, coloring, or flavoring. In fact organic farming grows crops using natural fertilizers like home grown manure to improve plant growth. The pesticides used for weeds or pests are also non-chemical. Organic farming improves soil quality, conserves groundwater, reduces pollution and is good for the environment.

Commonly grown organic foods include variety of fruits and vegetables, grains and more. Nowadays you may even buy processed organic products that are increasingly being made available by a growing organic producer’s community. HERD Organic Farms produces organic turmeric and sells it after careful packaging. The medicinal qualities of turmeric are well known and grown organically the processed product becomes more beneficial.

Evidence suggests foods grown organically are more nutritious since they contain plentiful antioxidants and vitamins. Study after study has proved that organic foods generally contain higher levels of micronutrients like vitamin C, zinc and iron. In fact, it is said antioxidant levels can be up to 55% higher in these foods! In fact many varieties of organically grown fruits and vegetables contained over 50% more antioxidants and higher amounts of vitamin C.

So if one replaces regular fruits and vegetables with organic fruits and vegetables they derive extra antioxidants in their diet. This would be like eating 1-2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables! Since organic plants are not dependent on chemical pesticides to safeguard them they produce more of their own protective compounds or antioxidants. This explains their higher levels of antioxidants.

Of course nutrient content may vary even in organic produce depending on varied factors like soil quality, weather conditions and time of harvest. Evidence suggests that consuming these foods reduces exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Many people therefore choose to eat organic for this reason alone, and that is to avoid artificial chemicals.

HERD Organic Farms is convinced that we need to act as a motivating agent to inspire rural farmers to take up organic farming practice. We hope to set an example in the rural region that growing organic foods is ultimately good for all. As more people demand organic food this will produce a domino effect to alter the economics and most certainly make it a profitable venture, in good time.

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