Sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.
Sustainable Agriculture Techniques
The Union of Concerned Scientists website offers current information on Sustainable Agricultural practices:
“Sustainable agriculture provides high yields without undermining the natural systems and resources that productivity depends on. Farmers who take a sustainable approach work efficiently with natural processes rather than ignoring or struggling against them – and use the best of current knowledge and technology to avoid the unintended consequences of industrial, chemical-based agriculture. One important result is that farmers are able to minimize their use of pesticides and fertilizers, thereby saving money and protecting future productivity, as well as the environment.
Below are some of the most common sustainable agriculture techniques employed by farmers today to achieve the key goals of weed control, pest control, disease control, erosion control and high soil quality:
Natural Pest Predators
Understanding a farm as an ecosystem rather than a factory offers exciting opportunities for effective pest control. For example, many birds, insects, and spiders are natural predators of agricultural pests. Managing farms so that they harbor populations of pest predators is a sophisticated and effective pest-control technique. One of the unfortunate consequences of intensive use of chemical pesticides is the indiscriminate killing of birds, bats, and other pest predators.
Soil is arguably the single most prized element of agricultural ecosystems. Healthy soil teems with life, including many beneficial microbes and insects, but these are often killed off by the overuse of pesticides. Good soils can improve yields and produce robust crops less vulnerable to pests; abused soils often require heavy fertilizer application to produce high yields. Soil quality can be maintained and enhanced in many ways, including leaving crop residues in the field after harvest, plowing under cover crops, or adding composted plant material or animal manure.”
Warm Heart Environmental Program advocates the use of biochar enriched fertilizer as the best solution to enriching your soils. We encourage you to make your own biochar, enriched compost, and EM solution. We provide all the information you need to get started with free videos and PDF’s. Please see the Resources box on the right.