From time to time I come across comments from people —even on “organic” forums that go on about how the world “needs” chemical, conventional agriculture to feed the world population. They don’t see organic farming as something that will work on a larger scale than home gardening.
Many have one foot in their “organic” garden – and have the other foot in the chemical world when they deem they have need for it.
Probably there are many who really want to believe organic gardening is the way that would supply plenty of food to the world but they’ve never looked for the proof to really hang their hat on —- so they’re still sitting on the fence.
I’ll bet we can all agree that it’s much easier to go forward with something when you know whole hardily that it’s the right way and that it will work. It’s just easier to be on the bus or off the bus.
As one studies the history of agriculture it’s interesting that in every generation for the past 125 years or more since chemicals came on the scene big-time — there are plenty of examples of men and women who have been a light in proving that organic, biodynamic and sustainable agriculture (in other words – working with nature) is less costly, more profitable, easier, and gets better results than conventional agriculture.
Why then — are the vast majority going the way of chemicals?
Chemical companies have always controlled conventional agriculture. Their bottom line (how much money they make) depends on the populace believing in (so they will buy and become dependent upon) chemicals and drugs.
In today’s world chemical companies are still in control. They have the money to control the media and even the government agencies having to do with food and agriculture. So if you’re looking to main-stream media for truth in almost any subject — you most likely won’t find it.
A Modern Day Example of Success as an Organic Farmer
On a website that is maintained by the national outreach office of Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education I found the success story of Bob Quinn, organic farmer in Big Sandy, Montana.
It starts off with a grabber that would be of interest to any market gardener or farmer:
“— Bob Quinn hasn’t borrowed operating capital from the bank for 10 years. Without hefty bills for agrichemicals at planting — and with an effective year-round marketing program — his cash flow is more stable than it was in the mid-1980s, before he began converting his 3,000 acres to organic.”
The dry land farm raises organic barley, buckwheat, wheats, and lentils.
They have no large livestock operations nearby to supply healthy manure — so their only way to improve their soil is green manure. Mr. Quinn attributes the farm’s profitability to soil building and pest-thwarting by using alfalfa and clover in four to five year rotations with their crops.
Green-manure crops are also used for weed-control which Mr. Quinn says “works as we’ll as conventional spraying.—-I think the rotation and soil-building program we have in place allows a great diversity in soil biology, and that’s what keeps the pests in place.”
Why only a Few Follow his Example
As with all organic successes in the past — only a handful of farmers will follow the profitable and healthful example of Mr. Quinn’s farm. He knows that most farmers are locked into the conventional way. They don’t want to transition to organic because they may experience lower yields for the transition period.
And he knows the other main reason too: The word being spread by agrichemical companies — and still coming down through traditional educational circles — is “that this (success without chemicals) is not real.”
It is real. And is does work. It always has —- because that’s the way nature intended it to work.
As Mr. Quinn said “It takes a lot more management and thinking ahead. So if you aren’t careful with your weeds, you can easily let them get ahead of you, and if you aren’t careful with your rotations, the system won’t work properly.”
But here’s what many will consider to be the best part of what Mr. Quinn said about the farmers who make it work —
“It puts us in a position to be paid a livelihood by the consumers rather than relying on government payments — and I think that’s a very big plus.”
How can YOU benefit from What Mr. Quinn is doing?
It’s my understanding that Mr. Quinn has 4 crops plus his green manures/covers of alfalfa and clover which he rotates in 4 to 5 year rotations.
To try to benefit from Mr. Quinn’s success, I’m going to use more than just one cover crop. For example, if I plant a vegetable crop in a bed this year and follow it with buckwheat — then next year I’m going to plant another vegetable crop in that bed and follow it with any cover crop other than buckwheat.
I hope you’ll join me.
Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.
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