Ecological Agriculture: Why and How?
First mentions of ecological agriculture appear during the 80s of the 20th century. It’s an overarching term for all methods which aim to regenerate the ecosystem (including organic farming): prevention of soil erosion, water infiltration and retention, carbon sequestration and improved biodiversity.
Why choose ecological agriculture?
Research showed the dependency between food and the way it’s being produced. It was found that part of the substances used in the food industry are harmful (some of them were even linked to cancer). Pesticides are an example of a substance which can be traced in produce.
Ecological agriculture is mostly chosen by farmers in developed countries. During the 1990s at least 1% of the produce came from ecological methods, and while some countries are slow to adopt it, it’s becoming a larger portion of the overall food production in many countries. It’s a challenging endeavor, though – there are many factors which should be taken into consideration if a farmer wants to go ecological: water management, soil management, biodiversity management and many more. Some countries are pretty strict when ruling out which farms are ecological, and even measure the levels of combustion engine emissions for the food’s transportation.
Ecological agriculture: the rules
Number one rule to follow is do not use chemical pesticides to prevent diseases, pests and weeds. The only way to prevent those is by biological methods – crop rotation, for example. It’s preferable to sow different crops in larger fields, separating them with bushes and trees. This method attracts animals and birds which eat pests. Apart from this method, soil inversion is recommended to make the most out of the existing soil. Тhere is no need for other types of melioration оn fields where the whole agricultural cycle has been completed.
Ecological farming requires the use of natural fertilizers mixed with leguminous plants. Composting and liming are also recommended. Deep plowing equipment is not permitted – plowing is shallow, with soil softening in depth. Thanks to this method, the soil’s natural microorganisms are preserved.
Ecological farming also prohibits antibiotics and hormones given to farm animals. During the winter grazing is substituted by forage, which is best grown on site.
The benefits of ecological agriculture are obvious – the produce doesn’t contain harmful substances, therefore it’s healthier. Its impact on nature is positive, biological equilibrium is preserved, and water is not being contaminated by pesticides.
Are you trying to follow the rules of ecological farming? How? Do share in the comments!