<< How does organic differ from sustainable agriculture? >>
Sadly, there are many "definitions" for organic and sustainable agriculture.
Nature is an extensive polyculture system that has existed for a long time.
Agriculture in the extreme, as in agribusiness, is an intensive monoculture
system. The problem is in balancing the intensification of production without
creating a farm that is non-sustainable, or food that is contaminated or
devitalized. Sustainable agriculture should be based on a semi-intensive
polyculture system. The health of the soil, the plants, the animals, and
humans is maintained in perpetuity without needing to resort to waging war to
eliminate pests, parasites, and pathogens. As Albrecht would say, these are
indicators of aberant farming practices. Organic farming can be practiced in a
way that is "sustainable", but may not be producing crops that maintain the
health of animals and humans. Some organic farmers use "natural" means for
"controlling" insects. Unfortunately, these are Nature's recycling troops and
attack crops that do not belong as food higher up on the food chain.
I would propose the term "vital" farming which emcompasses organic and
sustainable. A vital farm is defined as a farm that produces crops and
livestock that are free of damage from pests, predators, and insects, and free
of diseases and pathogens without any intervention to eradicate or control
these symptoms of adulterated farming practices. Vital farming methods are
defined as those that allow plants and animals to obtain their highest
potential through their inherent nature. Vital farming inputs are ideally
materials that can be produced on the farm or inputted from a similar farm.
Under this system, if mistakes are made in the way that the soil, water,
plants, etc are tended to, the resultant crops / livestock will be allowed to
be recycled by Nature rather than showing up on our plates.
Although these ideas appear to be extreme, I would suggest reading the works
of Steiner, Albrecht, Pfeiffer, and Howard before passing judgement.
Alan Ismond, P.Eng.
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