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Regenerative Farming: Agro-Ecology In Practice (Part 2 of 3)
In my previous article on regenerative agriculture, I reflected on the need for agriculture to become more regenerative. That is to say, for agriculture to find a way of ‘erasing its footprint’ and becoming a part of the ecosystem rather than degrading it by exhausting the land and its natural resources.   A truly regenerative mini-farm: Vietnam Some have referred to this practice as agro-ecology, or putting the science regarding ecology to good use by finding new and sustainable agricultural methods. This does not only apply to the ‘traditional’ agriculture of harvesting the land and tending to the crops; it also extends to livestock, poultry farming and - in one particularly fascinating example - domestic agriculture. The latter is actually the most convincing argument thus far when it comes to the applicability and benefits of regenerative farming. In Vietnam, people tend to enjoy their ‘Vuon Ao Chuong’, or garden, fishpond and pig or poultry shed in one. This pretty much encompasses their agricultural activities: working in their garden while taking care of their fishpond and tending to their pig or poultry shed. These activities are combined in a prime example of regenerative farming, whereby domestic agriculture is taken to new levels of productivity and intensity. Natural ecological processes are honoured while the various plant and animal species are cultivated in a relatively small area, where they are intertwined with one another. Each element of the Vuon Ao Chuong plays its own unique role in creating a truly regenerative mini-farm. What is even more interesting, is the versatility of this model to fit various different ecosystems. While the model was originally designed for a specific area in the north of Vietnam, bordering the Red River, it has since been adapted to be suitable for the coastal areas, river deltas, and mountainous regions as well. Although the mix of specific plant and animal species may differ for those ecosystems, the basic principle remains unchanged: honouring Mother Nature by nurturing the existing ecosystem, in doing so enhancing diversity and encouraging interspecies interaction. For each ecosystem, there is a 'sweet spot' Although the term symbiosis might sound too pretentious to describe what has been going on here, I am afraid it is the one that best fits this process. For each ecosystem, there is a ‘sweet spot’, a combination of plant and animal species that thrive when combined thoughtfully. Regardless of the climate, altitude, land type, environment and social status of a specific area, there will be an equilibrium. After all, that is how Mother Nature designed it. A process that has endured similarly rigorous time-testing will be hard to find. The Vuon Ao Chuong is not a secret confined to the borders of Vietnam. Its basic idea has spread across the region, with the Japanese seeing substantial increases in productivity after combining duck and rice farming. In Southern China, the mulberries-fish pond model has taken off - apparently a ‘golden combo’ as well. Zero budget Yet perhaps the most remarkable feat is that most of those solutions require virtually zero budget - a nicety for the domestic agriculturist, but a must for agricultural companies. This point was recognised by Subhash Palekar, who was looking to create a better working environment for his fellow farmers in the south of India, and came up with Zero Budget Natural Farming methods. He recognised that the majority of the world’s food supply (almost 70%) is produced by the so-called smallholder farmers. At the same time, this group only uses 30% of the resources. A precarious position: these are the farmers that have to produce more using less. Often, those smallholder farmers can be found in some of the poorest areas of the world, where they are battling the world’s harshest conditions in their attempt to feed all the hungry mouths around them. Through Zero Budget Natural Farming initiatives, a stable food supply can be guaranteed while minimising financial dependencies - such as the loans smallholder farmers often take out to make ends meet. Fertilisers, seeds, and other farming supplies are expensive. And when you are quite literally putting all of your eggs in one basket, risks are enormous. All it takes is one monsoon, one tornado, one tsunami, or one pest to completely destroy all of your crops - leaving you in a crippled financial state.   Increased resilience against the effects of climate change Regenerative agriculture might have the power to change this - as it encompasses plenty of Zero Budget Natural Farming methods. It will cut back the number of costly resources needed, while resulting in more nutritious food, higher yields, and increased resilience against the effects of climate change. This is accomplished using several basic principles, including the creation of more fertile soil through the addition of microbes; the prevention of crop diseases through natural means; the protection and enhancement of topsoil; and more efficient use of water. The bigger question at hand is whether those principles can also be applied to larger agricultural companies. In other words, can regenerative farming - or agro-ecology - be scaled up to work for much larger farms? Most will argue that this will indeed be possible, as the four principles given above will be applicable, regardless of the farm’s size. Theoretically, one could take a piece of land that has been worn out and degraded; effectively thrown into a biodiversity crisis of sorts. Then, following the principles of regenerative agriculture, the next step would be to revitalise the area. This is to say, to stabilise first - through contouring, terracing and planting; followed by the restoration of fertility and soil structure; and finally implementing a natural production regime. The farm will have to become a part in its surrounding ecosystem, leaving room for ‘wild’ areas where nature and all of its inhabitants can thrive. Combined with a diverse and well-thought out planting plan, this should be key to a thriving agro-ecology area. Only plants and animals that work well together should be included, ones that are native to the area and suitable for the time of year. For instance, some finer grains do better in the winter - including wheat, barley and oats -, while thicker grains are preferred in the summer, such as soya and quinoa. Some low maintenance cover crops like peas and radish can serve as insurance for soil fertility. Livestock can help to fertilise the land and create a thriving ecosystem.   All of this will increase the yield, while guaranteeing a diverse diet for those dependant upon it. If so desired, there could even be an additional element added to the farm, alongside the crops and livestock - such as a fishpond, vineyard, orchard or chickens. This is something that can unquestionably be duplicated on a larger scale: entrepreneur Doug Tompkins describes it as “multiple farms layered onto one property”.   All of those sub-farms are linked together and feed off each other, mutually strengthening both the farm and the surrounding ecosystem. An ideal scenario, where farms see increased yields and where ecosystems are built up rather than destroyed. In the past, too much valuable nature has gone to waste as the result of the continuously expanding consumerism in agriculture. This includes savannahs, jungles, and forests - home to many endangered plant and animal species that, as a result, have found themselves in a rather tough spot, balancing on the brink of extinction. And once the land served its purpose, it was just as easily discarded and quite literally left to waste. There are dozens of examples of pieces of land that have already successfully undergone the regeneration process. Like the Loess Plateau in China, where 4 million hectares of overgrazed land has been restored, creating both jobs and livelihood for over 2.5 million people and a rich and ecologically diverse area. Or the farmers who used regeneration methods to create a thriving, biodiverse forest in the Sahel area in Africa.   Now we have a chance of revitalising and, indeed, regenerating those previously discarded wastelands. For a world with a greater diversity of ecosystems; and for a world where we will be able to produce healthy, diverse food in harmony with nature.   Part 2 of 3 of a series on Regenerative Agriculture. Part 3 will be uploaded on June 17. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/agri-gardening
In my previous article on regenerative agriculture, I reflected on the need for agriculture to become more regenerative. That is to say, for agriculture to find a way of ‘erasing its footprint’ and becoming a part of the ecosystem rather than degrading it by exhausting the land and its natural resources.   A truly regenerative mini-farm: Vietnam Some have referred to this practice as agro-ecology, or putting the science regarding ecology to good use by finding new and sustainable agricultural methods. This does not only apply to the ‘traditional’ agriculture of harvesting the land and tending to the crops; it also extends to livestock, poultry farming and - in one particularly fascinating example - domestic agriculture. The latter is actually the most convincing argument thus far when it comes to the applicability and benefits of regenerative farming. In Vietnam, people tend to enjoy their ‘Vuon Ao Chuong’, or garden, fishpond and pig or poultry shed in one. This pretty much encompasses their agricultural activities: working in their garden while taking care of their fishpond and tending to their pig or poultry shed. These activities are combined in a prime example of regenerative farming, whereby domestic agriculture is taken to new levels of productivity and intensity. Natural ecological processes are honoured while the various plant and animal species are cultivated in a relatively small area, where they are intertwined with one another. Each element of the Vuon Ao Chuong plays its own unique role in creating a truly regenerative mini-farm. What is even more interesting, is the versatility of this model to fit various different ecosystems. While the model was originally designed for a specific area in the north of Vietnam, bordering the Red River, it has since been adapted to be suitable for the coastal areas, river deltas, and mountainous regions as well. Although the mix of specific plant and animal species may differ for those ecosystems, the basic principle remains unchanged: honouring Mother Nature by nurturing the existing ecosystem, in doing so enhancing diversity and encouraging interspecies interaction. For each ecosystem, there is a 'sweet spot' Although the term symbiosis might sound too pretentious to describe what has been going on here, I am afraid it is the one that best fits this process. For each ecosystem, there is a ‘sweet spot’, a combination of plant and animal species that thrive when combined thoughtfully. Regardless of the climate, altitude, land type, environment and social status of a specific area, there will be an equilibrium. After all, that is how Mother Nature designed it. A process that has endured similarly rigorous time-testing will be hard to find. The Vuon Ao Chuong is not a secret confined to the borders of Vietnam. Its basic idea has spread across the region, with the Japanese seeing substantial increases in productivity after combining duck and rice farming. In Southern China, the mulberries-fish pond model has taken off - apparently a ‘golden combo’ as well. Zero budget Yet perhaps the most remarkable feat is that most of those solutions require virtually zero budget - a nicety for the domestic agriculturist, but a must for agricultural companies. This point was recognised by Subhash Palekar, who was looking to create a better working environment for his fellow farmers in the south of India, and came up with Zero Budget Natural Farming methods. He recognised that the majority of the world’s food supply (almost 70%) is produced by the so-called smallholder farmers. At the same time, this group only uses 30% of the resources. A precarious position: these are the farmers that have to produce more using less. Often, those smallholder farmers can be found in some of the poorest areas of the world, where they are battling the world’s harshest conditions in their attempt to feed all the hungry mouths around them. Through Zero Budget Natural Farming initiatives, a stable food supply can be guaranteed while minimising financial dependencies - such as the loans smallholder farmers often take out to make ends meet. Fertilisers, seeds, and other farming supplies are expensive. And when you are quite literally putting all of your eggs in one basket, risks are enormous. All it takes is one monsoon, one tornado, one tsunami, or one pest to completely destroy all of your crops - leaving you in a crippled financial state.   Increased resilience against the effects of climate change Regenerative agriculture might have the power to change this - as it encompasses plenty of Zero Budget Natural Farming methods. It will cut back the number of costly resources needed, while resulting in more nutritious food, higher yields, and increased resilience against the effects of climate change. This is accomplished using several basic principles, including the creation of more fertile soil through the addition of microbes; the prevention of crop diseases through natural means; the protection and enhancement of topsoil; and more efficient use of water. The bigger question at hand is whether those principles can also be applied to larger agricultural companies. In other words, can regenerative farming - or agro-ecology - be scaled up to work for much larger farms? Most will argue that this will indeed be possible, as the four principles given above will be applicable, regardless of the farm’s size. Theoretically, one could take a piece of land that has been worn out and degraded; effectively thrown into a biodiversity crisis of sorts. Then, following the principles of regenerative agriculture, the next step would be to revitalise the area. This is to say, to stabilise first - through contouring, terracing and planting; followed by the restoration of fertility and soil structure; and finally implementing a natural production regime. The farm will have to become a part in its surrounding ecosystem, leaving room for ‘wild’ areas where nature and all of its inhabitants can thrive. Combined with a diverse and well-thought out planting plan, this should be key to a thriving agro-ecology area. Only plants and animals that work well together should be included, ones that are native to the area and suitable for the time of year. For instance, some finer grains do better in the winter - including wheat, barley and oats -, while thicker grains are preferred in the summer, such as soya and quinoa. Some low maintenance cover crops like peas and radish can serve as insurance for soil fertility. Livestock can help to fertilise the land and create a thriving ecosystem.   All of this will increase the yield, while guaranteeing a diverse diet for those dependant upon it. If so desired, there could even be an additional element added to the farm, alongside the crops and livestock - such as a fishpond, vineyard, orchard or chickens. This is something that can unquestionably be duplicated on a larger scale: entrepreneur Doug Tompkins describes it as “multiple farms layered onto one property”.   All of those sub-farms are linked together and feed off each other, mutually strengthening both the farm and the surrounding ecosystem. An ideal scenario, where farms see increased yields and where ecosystems are built up rather than destroyed. In the past, too much valuable nature has gone to waste as the result of the continuously expanding consumerism in agriculture. This includes savannahs, jungles, and forests - home to many endangered plant and animal species that, as a result, have found themselves in a rather tough spot, balancing on the brink of extinction. And once the land served its purpose, it was just as easily discarded and quite literally left to waste. There are dozens of examples of pieces of land that have already successfully undergone the regeneration process. Like the Loess Plateau in China, where 4 million hectares of overgrazed land has been restored, creating both jobs and livelihood for over 2.5 million people and a rich and ecologically diverse area. Or the farmers who used regeneration methods to create a thriving, biodiverse forest in the Sahel area in Africa.   Now we have a chance of revitalising and, indeed, regenerating those previously discarded wastelands. For a world with a greater diversity of ecosystems; and for a world where we will be able to produce healthy, diverse food in harmony with nature.   Part 2 of 3 of a series on Regenerative Agriculture. Part 3 will be uploaded on June 17. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/agri-gardening
Regenerative Farming: Agro-Ecology In Practice (Part 2 of 3)
Regenerative Farming: Agro-Ecology In Practice (Part 2 of 3)
Regenerative Agriculture: Basics For Safe Food (Part 1 of 3)
Agriculture has been around as long as mankind. In the earliest days of humanity, an important part of the day was spent hunting for food - whether by chasing after animals, by foraging for nuts and fruits, or by working on the land. From the Stone Age to the Middle Ages, right up to the Industrial Age and our current time. As we evolved, so did agriculture - yet its role remained unchanged: feeding those who depend on it for their daily meal. Exploiting valuable natural areas in order to turn it into farmland Another fact is that the world population has grown significantly: only 200 years ago, there were fewer than one billion humans alive. Today, we share our planet with over 7 billion others. And as space hasn’t increased significantly - you could argue that it has even been reduced, considering the extra land taken up by our cities and industrial areas -, the challenge seems obvious. There are many more mouths to feed, yet we have to do so using fewer resources and smaller areas of land. Of course there are some who would say that we ought to be, in fact, delivering by 'creating' more space and resources. This has actually been a common practice in recent decades, with eager producers exploiting valuable natural areas in order to turn it into farmland; or using up some of our earth’s most precious commodities in order to provide the energy and raw materials needed to live up to the skyrocketing demand. While many of us would be condemning those kind of practices today - hindsight is 20/20 -, there are all too many examples of similar practices long before that. Some innovations might, at the time of their introduction, have been considered groundbreaking and a huge leap forward. Yet looking back with today’s knowledge, they would not even be considered a feasible option because of the inherent and often disastrous consequences. Safe food Through artificial crops, advanced fertilisation methods and many other sophisticated techniques, it became possible to substantially ramp up food production. Through the multiplication of livestock, production of high yield and resilient crops, and smart techniques for fertilising and harvesting crops, production reached unparalleled heights.   Yet it is not only about increasing production: increasing food safety and ensuring accountability throughout the supply chain have been moving to the forefront as well. This newfound abundance of 'safe' food might just be a scam. Yes, we are delivering more while seemingly using less. But at what additional cost? The negative impacts of quick-gain practices are slowly but surely becoming painfully obvious. Not only does the ruthless exploitation of vast areas of land leave them plundered and abandoned, having irreversibly harmed the local ecosystem; there’s also matters like atmospheric pollution, choking waterways, antibiotic crises, pesticide disasters, and dangerous greenhouse gas emissions. Estimates have put the cost of agriculture to society staggeringly high, potentially reaching some $6 trillion by 2050. So let’s rewind a bit: is this really worth it? Does the end really justify the means?   At its core, the problem can be found in the business-like attitude of farms. Farms feel the pressure to deliver and meet demand, hence forcing them to start thinking and acting like a corporate machine. Profits will be put before anything else, with automation and innovation following suit.   The big issue with this? Agriculture , in contrast with other industries, is dealing directly with nature. While many things can be automated and forecasted, this decidedly does not apply to animals. To the insects that pollinate the crops; to the weather events that might damage or destroy the harvest; to the water on the surface and in the ground that is used to irrigate; or to the soil that is needed to provide a fertile environment for crops. All of those things just will not let themselves be automated, or made subject to linear production processes. Although we are often too tempted by greed to let this stop us from trying to do so - which is exactly what resulted in the negative consequences listed above. An area that is roughly the size of England is left to waste every year, requiring us to look further and start exploiting valuable savannah or rainforest lands in order to take its place. We try to take ‘more’ from the earth, resources and animals then they realistically have to offer - with all that this implies. Regenerative agriculture {youtube} Enter regenerative agriculture. This new school of thought within agriculture operates on the principle that we should recognise the complexity and resilience of the world’s ‘natural technology’. Basically, it means that we move to a food system that respects our nature’s ability to regenerate and produce rich, unique and fertile natural environments, as it has done for centuries before we came around. In an ideal world, this would feed the growing world population with an equally rich diet that thrives on variety and freshness. While doing so, it ought to find a way through which ecosystems are rebuilt and thriving in the process. Not only does this go a long way in combatting the degradation of ecosystems, it also holds the potential to counter climate change. Although some may consider it to be unrealistic and radical, it is actually nothing new. It goes right back to the way our ancestors harvested the land, based on a near-scientific understanding of the earth’s needs and limits. Soil, water, farms and animals are all working together to create a rich ecosystem. For once, farms do not take the lead, trying to manage and manipulate the other elements - they will be an active part of the ecosystem. A farm will not just ‘withdraw’ from nature as if it were an ATM, but rather it gives back and feeds into it as well. Make no mistake: this will be complicated. As there are so many different ecosystems, the exact way of dealing with each environment will differ. Geologist David Montgomery put it as follows: “ What works for temperate grasslands may not work so well in tropical forests. We need to tailor practices to the land and be mindful of the geographical and social context .” It will be a process that requires thought and science, along with an inherent respect for flora and fauna. This does not make it impossible. Some elements of it are already in use. For instance, the use of livestock to graze grassy farmlands has already been accepted as a sensible practice. Through their eating, walking and disposing of waste, they ‘feed’ the grasslands and fertilise the soil. Using techniques like ‘rotational grazing’, livestock and poultry are used as an active player in guarding the health of the farm and environment as a whole. Photo by: Peter Bergquist On the top of the hill, on the leveller ground, this farmer is rotating, corn, oats, and alfalfa in 60’ contoured strips. This proven crop rotation practice will build soils, produce good yields, limit erosion, limit required inputs, produce grain for sale and forage for winter feeding of livestock.  The steeper land below the perimeter electric fence is in permanent pasture and being rotationally grazed. Each day this farmer moves poly wire electric fencing to create a new paddock big enough to feed his animals for 24 hours. He also moves a small water tank and a Shade Haven portable shade structure . The concept seems clear: regenerative agriculture will help us to find a new way of producing the food we so direly need, while respecting the world around us. That balance between not exhausting natural resources and still getting the food that we need is crucial - that is, if we are hoping to have a planet left to eat our meticulously produced food on. Part 1 of 3 of a series on Regenerative Agriculture. Part 2 will be uploaded on May 23. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/agri-gardening
Agriculture has been around as long as mankind. In the earliest days of humanity, an important part of the day was spent hunting for food - whether by chasing after animals, by foraging for nuts and fruits, or by working on the land. From the Stone Age to the Middle Ages, right up to the Industrial Age and our current time. As we evolved, so did agriculture - yet its role remained unchanged: feeding those who depend on it for their daily meal. Exploiting valuable natural areas in order to turn it into farmland Another fact is that the world population has grown significantly: only 200 years ago, there were fewer than one billion humans alive. Today, we share our planet with over 7 billion others. And as space hasn’t increased significantly - you could argue that it has even been reduced, considering the extra land taken up by our cities and industrial areas -, the challenge seems obvious. There are many more mouths to feed, yet we have to do so using fewer resources and smaller areas of land. Of course there are some who would say that we ought to be, in fact, delivering by 'creating' more space and resources. This has actually been a common practice in recent decades, with eager producers exploiting valuable natural areas in order to turn it into farmland; or using up some of our earth’s most precious commodities in order to provide the energy and raw materials needed to live up to the skyrocketing demand. While many of us would be condemning those kind of practices today - hindsight is 20/20 -, there are all too many examples of similar practices long before that. Some innovations might, at the time of their introduction, have been considered groundbreaking and a huge leap forward. Yet looking back with today’s knowledge, they would not even be considered a feasible option because of the inherent and often disastrous consequences. Safe food Through artificial crops, advanced fertilisation methods and many other sophisticated techniques, it became possible to substantially ramp up food production. Through the multiplication of livestock, production of high yield and resilient crops, and smart techniques for fertilising and harvesting crops, production reached unparalleled heights.   Yet it is not only about increasing production: increasing food safety and ensuring accountability throughout the supply chain have been moving to the forefront as well. This newfound abundance of 'safe' food might just be a scam. Yes, we are delivering more while seemingly using less. But at what additional cost? The negative impacts of quick-gain practices are slowly but surely becoming painfully obvious. Not only does the ruthless exploitation of vast areas of land leave them plundered and abandoned, having irreversibly harmed the local ecosystem; there’s also matters like atmospheric pollution, choking waterways, antibiotic crises, pesticide disasters, and dangerous greenhouse gas emissions. Estimates have put the cost of agriculture to society staggeringly high, potentially reaching some $6 trillion by 2050. So let’s rewind a bit: is this really worth it? Does the end really justify the means?   At its core, the problem can be found in the business-like attitude of farms. Farms feel the pressure to deliver and meet demand, hence forcing them to start thinking and acting like a corporate machine. Profits will be put before anything else, with automation and innovation following suit.   The big issue with this? Agriculture , in contrast with other industries, is dealing directly with nature. While many things can be automated and forecasted, this decidedly does not apply to animals. To the insects that pollinate the crops; to the weather events that might damage or destroy the harvest; to the water on the surface and in the ground that is used to irrigate; or to the soil that is needed to provide a fertile environment for crops. All of those things just will not let themselves be automated, or made subject to linear production processes. Although we are often too tempted by greed to let this stop us from trying to do so - which is exactly what resulted in the negative consequences listed above. An area that is roughly the size of England is left to waste every year, requiring us to look further and start exploiting valuable savannah or rainforest lands in order to take its place. We try to take ‘more’ from the earth, resources and animals then they realistically have to offer - with all that this implies. Regenerative agriculture {youtube} Enter regenerative agriculture. This new school of thought within agriculture operates on the principle that we should recognise the complexity and resilience of the world’s ‘natural technology’. Basically, it means that we move to a food system that respects our nature’s ability to regenerate and produce rich, unique and fertile natural environments, as it has done for centuries before we came around. In an ideal world, this would feed the growing world population with an equally rich diet that thrives on variety and freshness. While doing so, it ought to find a way through which ecosystems are rebuilt and thriving in the process. Not only does this go a long way in combatting the degradation of ecosystems, it also holds the potential to counter climate change. Although some may consider it to be unrealistic and radical, it is actually nothing new. It goes right back to the way our ancestors harvested the land, based on a near-scientific understanding of the earth’s needs and limits. Soil, water, farms and animals are all working together to create a rich ecosystem. For once, farms do not take the lead, trying to manage and manipulate the other elements - they will be an active part of the ecosystem. A farm will not just ‘withdraw’ from nature as if it were an ATM, but rather it gives back and feeds into it as well. Make no mistake: this will be complicated. As there are so many different ecosystems, the exact way of dealing with each environment will differ. Geologist David Montgomery put it as follows: “ What works for temperate grasslands may not work so well in tropical forests. We need to tailor practices to the land and be mindful of the geographical and social context .” It will be a process that requires thought and science, along with an inherent respect for flora and fauna. This does not make it impossible. Some elements of it are already in use. For instance, the use of livestock to graze grassy farmlands has already been accepted as a sensible practice. Through their eating, walking and disposing of waste, they ‘feed’ the grasslands and fertilise the soil. Using techniques like ‘rotational grazing’, livestock and poultry are used as an active player in guarding the health of the farm and environment as a whole. Photo by: Peter Bergquist On the top of the hill, on the leveller ground, this farmer is rotating, corn, oats, and alfalfa in 60’ contoured strips. This proven crop rotation practice will build soils, produce good yields, limit erosion, limit required inputs, produce grain for sale and forage for winter feeding of livestock.  The steeper land below the perimeter electric fence is in permanent pasture and being rotationally grazed. Each day this farmer moves poly wire electric fencing to create a new paddock big enough to feed his animals for 24 hours. He also moves a small water tank and a Shade Haven portable shade structure . The concept seems clear: regenerative agriculture will help us to find a new way of producing the food we so direly need, while respecting the world around us. That balance between not exhausting natural resources and still getting the food that we need is crucial - that is, if we are hoping to have a planet left to eat our meticulously produced food on. Part 1 of 3 of a series on Regenerative Agriculture. Part 2 will be uploaded on May 23. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/agri-gardening
Regenerative Agriculture: Basics For Safe Food (Part 1 of 3)
Regenerative Agriculture: Basics For Safe Food (Part 1 of 3)
Soil Imbalance Due To Increased Use Of Fertilizer
The chemical fertilizers market has been segmented into macronutrients, micronutrients, application and forms. Based on macronutrients, the market has been segmented into nitrogen based fertilizers, phosphate based fertilizers and potash based fertilizers. Among these segments, the nitrogen based fertilizers are estimated to dominate the market by holding the largest share of approximately 50%. This can be attributed to the absorption of nitrogen by plants. In 2013, the demand for nitrogen fertilizers reached to 108 megatons, increasing crop prices which are uplifting the demand for chemical fertilizers across the globe. This factor is envisioned to strengthen the growth of chemical fertilizers market. The global market for chemical fertilizers is expected to reach around USD 150 billion by the end of 2024 witnessing a healthy compound annual growth rate of 3.9% over the period 2017-2024. This can be attributed to favorable weather conditions that are increasing the demand for chemical fertilizers in major agricultural regions. In regional segment, North America chemical fertilizers market marked a revenue share of around 52% in the global chemical fertilizer market followed by Asia pacific with a share of 24%. The region is anticipated to show a substantial growth in the near future. Growing Demand for Food Security Rising need of food security has led to favorable trade policies in agricultural sector and has extended the reach of small farmers to international food business. To meet the overflowing demand for food across the globe, there is a strong need for chemical fertilizers in  agricultural sector to produce high yield. Further, the high adoption rate of advanced chemical fertilizers is expected to benefit the expansion of market. However, high cost, toxic nature combined with excessive use of these fertilizers resulting in long-term imbalances in soil might deter the growth of chemical fertilizers market. The report titled “Chemical Fertilizers Market: Global Demand Analysis & Opportunity Outlook 2024” delivers detailed overview of the chemical fertilizers market in terms of market segmentation by macronutrients, micronutrients, by application, forms and by region. Further, for the in-depth analysis, the report encompasses the industry growth drivers, restraints, supply and demand risk, market attractiveness, BPS analysis and Porter’s five force model. This report also provides the existing competitive scenario of some of the key players of the chemical fertilizers market which includes company profiling of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. (Canada), The Mosaic Company, Uralkali PJSC (Russia), Yara International ASA (Norway) and JSC Belaruskali. The profiling enfolds key information of the companies which encompasses business overview, products and services, key financials and recent news and developments. On the whole, the report depicts detailed overview of the chemical fertilizers market that will help industry consultants, equipment manufacturers, existing players searching for expansion opportunities, new players searching possibilities and other stakeholders to align their market centric strategies according to the ongoing and expected trends in the future. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/agri-gardening
The chemical fertilizers market has been segmented into macronutrients, micronutrients, application and forms. Based on macronutrients, the market has been segmented into nitrogen based fertilizers, phosphate based fertilizers and potash based fertilizers. Among these segments, the nitrogen based fertilizers are estimated to dominate the market by holding the largest share of approximately 50%. This can be attributed to the absorption of nitrogen by plants. In 2013, the demand for nitrogen fertilizers reached to 108 megatons, increasing crop prices which are uplifting the demand for chemical fertilizers across the globe. This factor is envisioned to strengthen the growth of chemical fertilizers market. The global market for chemical fertilizers is expected to reach around USD 150 billion by the end of 2024 witnessing a healthy compound annual growth rate of 3.9% over the period 2017-2024. This can be attributed to favorable weather conditions that are increasing the demand for chemical fertilizers in major agricultural regions. In regional segment, North America chemical fertilizers market marked a revenue share of around 52% in the global chemical fertilizer market followed by Asia pacific with a share of 24%. The region is anticipated to show a substantial growth in the near future. Growing Demand for Food Security Rising need of food security has led to favorable trade policies in agricultural sector and has extended the reach of small farmers to international food business. To meet the overflowing demand for food across the globe, there is a strong need for chemical fertilizers in  agricultural sector to produce high yield. Further, the high adoption rate of advanced chemical fertilizers is expected to benefit the expansion of market. However, high cost, toxic nature combined with excessive use of these fertilizers resulting in long-term imbalances in soil might deter the growth of chemical fertilizers market. The report titled “Chemical Fertilizers Market: Global Demand Analysis & Opportunity Outlook 2024” delivers detailed overview of the chemical fertilizers market in terms of market segmentation by macronutrients, micronutrients, by application, forms and by region. Further, for the in-depth analysis, the report encompasses the industry growth drivers, restraints, supply and demand risk, market attractiveness, BPS analysis and Porter’s five force model. This report also provides the existing competitive scenario of some of the key players of the chemical fertilizers market which includes company profiling of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. (Canada), The Mosaic Company, Uralkali PJSC (Russia), Yara International ASA (Norway) and JSC Belaruskali. The profiling enfolds key information of the companies which encompasses business overview, products and services, key financials and recent news and developments. On the whole, the report depicts detailed overview of the chemical fertilizers market that will help industry consultants, equipment manufacturers, existing players searching for expansion opportunities, new players searching possibilities and other stakeholders to align their market centric strategies according to the ongoing and expected trends in the future. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/agri-gardening
Soil Imbalance Due To Increased Use Of Fertilizer
Climate Change: Coffee Destroys Earth The Planet Your Coffee
Most of us thoroughly enjoy our cup of coffee in the morning. It wakes us up to a bright new world and it warms us up on chilly days, prepping us for a full day of work ahead. How ironic that this little habit might just lead to permanently warming up any chilly days and eventually us not having any world to wake up to. And if this is not yet bad enough, all of these adverse weather effects might ultimately lead to you not having any more coffee to drink. The hard numbers of climate change Why? Recently, scientists put out a warning stating that the majority of coffee species are at risk of extinction, as the sole result of climate change. They estimate the number of species that might go extinct at 60 percent - or higher. This is bad news for more than one reason, as it might trigger a sequence that ultimately leads to the end of coffee as we know it today. Or force us to save it by taking very unsustainable actions. Research is hard to refute. And research is exactly what lies at the basis of the coffee vs. climate change debate. It found that climate change has already been affecting two of the most frequently consumed coffee species, being the C. Arabica (better known as Arabica coffee) and C. Capephonara, otherwise known as Robusta coffee.   Of the remaining 124 wild coffee species, it has been found that at least 60 percent will go extinct if global warming is not addressed properly. And while not all of these are heavily consumed species, they are important for keeping up the diversity in the plant-family. Once diversity in coffee species dwindles, it will become harder to find hybrids that are capable of resisting extreme weather events and pests - side-effects of global warming.   The facts above are basically just the first trigger in a causal chain that will lead to more and more coffee species dying out as they are not able to fulfil to the first rule of Darwinism: adapt or die. The only alternative will be using up scarce resources and huge amounts of energy to artificially keep our nation’s favourite beverage alive. Which will leave the world in an even worse situation as it is in today. Finding sustainable conservation plans You might as well make yourself another cup of cappuccino at this point, because it is not getting any better. Despite pleas and warning cries from coffee producers and researchers alike, we have not yet come up with sustainable and effective conservation plans to save the dozens of coffee plant species at risk of going extinct. The ones that are currently in place are highly inadequate and often even polluting of their own.   As Aaron Davis, a coffee specialist and frequently credited author of research papers on the topic admits: “Ultimately, we need to reverse deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”  Yet the big puzzle remains: how to save the planet and coffee at the same time? A potential solution for saving our coffee It might seem depressing, but stay with me - as there are potentially viable ideas and innovations that focus on retaining at least a significant part of the currently existing species. These largely focus on the world’s most widely consumed coffee species, being our favourites Arabica and Robusta. The largest risk threatening these species is that they are rather finicky and fragile. Arabica, for instance, is a slow grower and enjoys a place in the shade of trees, preferably at higher altitudes - which is why they are mostly produced in or near mountains. Robusta is not much better, also requiring a specific ecosystem to live in and  climate to thrive in. Building up genetic resistance As all of these ecosystems are likely to change as the result of global warming, the key to saving your favourite latte is the adaptation of the crops to allow them to be more sustainable to their new environment. The Arabica and Robusta plants can be made more resistant by letting them borrow certain traits from their wild coffee-relatives, of which - let’s look at the glass half-full - some 40% are decidedly not yet at risk.   Why are these safe, for now at least? Well, they might possess a certain pest-resistant gene, they might be unappealing to destructive insects, or they might be better suited for warmer or colder climates. A trait that could be passed on to our favourite coffee species. Through breeding, hybrids can be developed that will give us the same - or similar - flavour, while being easier to grow. So, it is basically gene-editing, to find out which wild coffee species are best combined with Arabica and Robusta. Science at its best, that will once again come around to save the planet. It seems like a win-win situation: saving coffee while not negatively impacting the environment. It might even have a positive impact on your health as well, as the wild coffee species that will be interbred with generally have a lower sugar and caffeine count. Sounds like a perfect solution - that is, unless you strongly dislike your brew decaffeinated. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening-agriculture
Most of us thoroughly enjoy our cup of coffee in the morning. It wakes us up to a bright new world and it warms us up on chilly days, prepping us for a full day of work ahead. How ironic that this little habit might just lead to permanently warming up any chilly days and eventually us not having any world to wake up to. And if this is not yet bad enough, all of these adverse weather effects might ultimately lead to you not having any more coffee to drink. The hard numbers of climate change Why? Recently, scientists put out a warning stating that the majority of coffee species are at risk of extinction, as the sole result of climate change. They estimate the number of species that might go extinct at 60 percent - or higher. This is bad news for more than one reason, as it might trigger a sequence that ultimately leads to the end of coffee as we know it today. Or force us to save it by taking very unsustainable actions. Research is hard to refute. And research is exactly what lies at the basis of the coffee vs. climate change debate. It found that climate change has already been affecting two of the most frequently consumed coffee species, being the C. Arabica (better known as Arabica coffee) and C. Capephonara, otherwise known as Robusta coffee.   Of the remaining 124 wild coffee species, it has been found that at least 60 percent will go extinct if global warming is not addressed properly. And while not all of these are heavily consumed species, they are important for keeping up the diversity in the plant-family. Once diversity in coffee species dwindles, it will become harder to find hybrids that are capable of resisting extreme weather events and pests - side-effects of global warming.   The facts above are basically just the first trigger in a causal chain that will lead to more and more coffee species dying out as they are not able to fulfil to the first rule of Darwinism: adapt or die. The only alternative will be using up scarce resources and huge amounts of energy to artificially keep our nation’s favourite beverage alive. Which will leave the world in an even worse situation as it is in today. Finding sustainable conservation plans You might as well make yourself another cup of cappuccino at this point, because it is not getting any better. Despite pleas and warning cries from coffee producers and researchers alike, we have not yet come up with sustainable and effective conservation plans to save the dozens of coffee plant species at risk of going extinct. The ones that are currently in place are highly inadequate and often even polluting of their own.   As Aaron Davis, a coffee specialist and frequently credited author of research papers on the topic admits: “Ultimately, we need to reverse deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”  Yet the big puzzle remains: how to save the planet and coffee at the same time? A potential solution for saving our coffee It might seem depressing, but stay with me - as there are potentially viable ideas and innovations that focus on retaining at least a significant part of the currently existing species. These largely focus on the world’s most widely consumed coffee species, being our favourites Arabica and Robusta. The largest risk threatening these species is that they are rather finicky and fragile. Arabica, for instance, is a slow grower and enjoys a place in the shade of trees, preferably at higher altitudes - which is why they are mostly produced in or near mountains. Robusta is not much better, also requiring a specific ecosystem to live in and  climate to thrive in. Building up genetic resistance As all of these ecosystems are likely to change as the result of global warming, the key to saving your favourite latte is the adaptation of the crops to allow them to be more sustainable to their new environment. The Arabica and Robusta plants can be made more resistant by letting them borrow certain traits from their wild coffee-relatives, of which - let’s look at the glass half-full - some 40% are decidedly not yet at risk.   Why are these safe, for now at least? Well, they might possess a certain pest-resistant gene, they might be unappealing to destructive insects, or they might be better suited for warmer or colder climates. A trait that could be passed on to our favourite coffee species. Through breeding, hybrids can be developed that will give us the same - or similar - flavour, while being easier to grow. So, it is basically gene-editing, to find out which wild coffee species are best combined with Arabica and Robusta. Science at its best, that will once again come around to save the planet. It seems like a win-win situation: saving coffee while not negatively impacting the environment. It might even have a positive impact on your health as well, as the wild coffee species that will be interbred with generally have a lower sugar and caffeine count. Sounds like a perfect solution - that is, unless you strongly dislike your brew decaffeinated. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening-agriculture
Climate Change: Coffee Destroys Earth The Planet Your Coffee
Climate Change: Coffee Destroys Earth The Planet Your Coffee
The Future Of Farming: Finding A Better Way To Feed The World
If there is one thing that most people will readily agree on, it must be that the way that we currently feed ourselves is highly ineffective. Polluting. And, at the same time, incapable of providing sufficient food for the ever-growing population of the world. Agriculture has become synonymous with a best effort, especially now that many in the developed nations are facing a hefty shortage of qualified personnel and resources, while developing countries are overexploiting the land and human resources. What is wrong with agriculture ? Even though some will try to nuance the above, it should - if anything - be amplified and emphasised at any given opportunity. The current state of farming is alarming and should worry all of us. While it is putting a huge strain on the environment and the world as a whole, it is painfully incapable of meeting demand. Something that must be changed if we are hoping to still be around in another couple of hundred years. The growing demand for food and produce, coupled with painfully ineffective farming methods, have led to a continuous expansion of farmlands. In doing so, valuable land is wasted - including tropical rainforests and rare, irreplaceable habitats of endangered or near-extinct species. At the same time, the nitrogen pollution is far exceeding all set limits and rendering us dangerously close to becoming extinct as a species as well. Bringing forth an agricultural revolution: coming up with new ideas As such, considering the risks of climate change, the agricultural industry should be taking a good hard look at itself. Thankfully, plenty of innovative minds have already come together to find new, sustainable ideas of re-organising farming. Some of those ideas are merely improving the current state of agriculture, while others are looking to completely re-do the way that we use the earth to feed ourselves. Improving the current state of  farming affairs through automation As for the first, merely improving the current way of farming, new technological innovations are involved. This is often described as technologies that will bring about the “fourth industrial revolution”, marrying various physical, digital and biological domains. Examples, championed by institutions such as the World Economic Forum, include next generation biotechnology innovations that seek to re-engineer plants, crops and animals.   Another huge pillar is precision farming, that seeks to optimise the use of water and pesticides. Smart systems and all kind of robots and autonomous vehicles will tackle the shortage of qualified personnel while ensuring that the entire food chain is traceable and transparant. At the same time, this allows for real-time farming that closely monitors and adjusts the land to minimise waste and prevent loss of crops. Drones will pollinate crops and distribute nutrients when and where needed. A smart tractor can take over a farmer’s job and prepare the soil, seed, weed, fertilise and harvest much more effectively. The internet of things can be used in combination with blockchain to increase accountability while manufacturing synthetic foods, that can be used to personalise our nutrition. All in, it serves an agricultural industry that feeds more people while being less labour-intensive. Nothing new, yet better. And quite possibly an easier pill to swallow for the industry leaders. Radically changing the way that we farm Another proposal that is gaining steam is a radical solution that proposes a decentralised system (as opposed to the technological advances being driven from large companies). This uses the local, natural ecosystem to balance out nature, while producing sustainably. In this view, farming systems are based on the interaction between plants, crops, animals and the environment. Effectively, this would mean that trees and shrubs might be planted amongst or around crops. That there would be a variety of crops and other plants placed in their natural habitat, reducing the need for artificial interference. This time, biodiversity would be agriculture’s greatest friend, using the natural habitat to deal with pests and increase the yield without damaging the soil. This idea is often referred to as ‘agroecology’. These natural ecosystems are circular, matching the production of both crops and energy with a sufficient water and waste management system. The nurturing and creation of such agroecology areas is performed by local communities and allied researchers, taking the control of the food back to the people. Quite different from the idea of automation, that will lay control over the world’s food stock in the hands of a selected few. It is time to take action No matter what side you are on, it is important to realise that the time to act is today. Thankfully, most people seem to agree on this, with a selection of government officials and representatives from the civil society and private sector soon meeting in the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization to discuss the future of farming.   The most hotly debated issue will be this question on who should be in control of farming: a selected few, who will drive innovation that will lead to robots producing artificial food for us, or in the hands of the local communities, who will find ways of farming in harmony with nature through circular systems embedded in the ecosystem. No matter what, it should be clear that, at least to some degree, we should all have a say in the future of our food. Those who have control over all the food in the world will find themselves in a dangerous position of power that should never have existed in the first place. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening---agriculture
If there is one thing that most people will readily agree on, it must be that the way that we currently feed ourselves is highly ineffective. Polluting. And, at the same time, incapable of providing sufficient food for the ever-growing population of the world. Agriculture has become synonymous with a best effort, especially now that many in the developed nations are facing a hefty shortage of qualified personnel and resources, while developing countries are overexploiting the land and human resources. What is wrong with agriculture ? Even though some will try to nuance the above, it should - if anything - be amplified and emphasised at any given opportunity. The current state of farming is alarming and should worry all of us. While it is putting a huge strain on the environment and the world as a whole, it is painfully incapable of meeting demand. Something that must be changed if we are hoping to still be around in another couple of hundred years. The growing demand for food and produce, coupled with painfully ineffective farming methods, have led to a continuous expansion of farmlands. In doing so, valuable land is wasted - including tropical rainforests and rare, irreplaceable habitats of endangered or near-extinct species. At the same time, the nitrogen pollution is far exceeding all set limits and rendering us dangerously close to becoming extinct as a species as well. Bringing forth an agricultural revolution: coming up with new ideas As such, considering the risks of climate change, the agricultural industry should be taking a good hard look at itself. Thankfully, plenty of innovative minds have already come together to find new, sustainable ideas of re-organising farming. Some of those ideas are merely improving the current state of agriculture, while others are looking to completely re-do the way that we use the earth to feed ourselves. Improving the current state of  farming affairs through automation As for the first, merely improving the current way of farming, new technological innovations are involved. This is often described as technologies that will bring about the “fourth industrial revolution”, marrying various physical, digital and biological domains. Examples, championed by institutions such as the World Economic Forum, include next generation biotechnology innovations that seek to re-engineer plants, crops and animals.   Another huge pillar is precision farming, that seeks to optimise the use of water and pesticides. Smart systems and all kind of robots and autonomous vehicles will tackle the shortage of qualified personnel while ensuring that the entire food chain is traceable and transparant. At the same time, this allows for real-time farming that closely monitors and adjusts the land to minimise waste and prevent loss of crops. Drones will pollinate crops and distribute nutrients when and where needed. A smart tractor can take over a farmer’s job and prepare the soil, seed, weed, fertilise and harvest much more effectively. The internet of things can be used in combination with blockchain to increase accountability while manufacturing synthetic foods, that can be used to personalise our nutrition. All in, it serves an agricultural industry that feeds more people while being less labour-intensive. Nothing new, yet better. And quite possibly an easier pill to swallow for the industry leaders. Radically changing the way that we farm Another proposal that is gaining steam is a radical solution that proposes a decentralised system (as opposed to the technological advances being driven from large companies). This uses the local, natural ecosystem to balance out nature, while producing sustainably. In this view, farming systems are based on the interaction between plants, crops, animals and the environment. Effectively, this would mean that trees and shrubs might be planted amongst or around crops. That there would be a variety of crops and other plants placed in their natural habitat, reducing the need for artificial interference. This time, biodiversity would be agriculture’s greatest friend, using the natural habitat to deal with pests and increase the yield without damaging the soil. This idea is often referred to as ‘agroecology’. These natural ecosystems are circular, matching the production of both crops and energy with a sufficient water and waste management system. The nurturing and creation of such agroecology areas is performed by local communities and allied researchers, taking the control of the food back to the people. Quite different from the idea of automation, that will lay control over the world’s food stock in the hands of a selected few. It is time to take action No matter what side you are on, it is important to realise that the time to act is today. Thankfully, most people seem to agree on this, with a selection of government officials and representatives from the civil society and private sector soon meeting in the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization to discuss the future of farming.   The most hotly debated issue will be this question on who should be in control of farming: a selected few, who will drive innovation that will lead to robots producing artificial food for us, or in the hands of the local communities, who will find ways of farming in harmony with nature through circular systems embedded in the ecosystem. No matter what, it should be clear that, at least to some degree, we should all have a say in the future of our food. Those who have control over all the food in the world will find themselves in a dangerous position of power that should never have existed in the first place. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/gardening---agriculture
The Future Of Farming: Finding A Better Way To Feed The World
The Future Of Farming: Finding A Better Way To Feed The World
Agri & Gardening

Growing food, either commercially or as a hobby is one of the most satisfying things you can do. It is however not without chalanges. Protection agains natural or man-made threats, irrigation or other treatments of the soil has to be done with care. Read all about world wide initiatives to make agriculture more sustainable in these articles.

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