“We are starlight, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourself,
Back to the garden”
–Crosby, Bill, Nash and Young
Organic Lifestyle simply means, to live along side nature symbiotically. Adoping practises of living on our planet where we live in harmony with nature.Through this article,we wish to elaborate on the importance of Organic lifestyle, and how it can make a change in our lives.
We would like to talk about concept of organic lifestyle pertaining to the farming practises in this blog. Farming, a profession that is losing its relevance today in the I.T & B.T age, often neglected and overlooked is arguably the only profession that benefits all of humanity. The farmer is an integral part of the society as he/she is the provider of life sustanence. For life to go on, a farmer must be given his due. In a spiritual sense he/she is the one who truly communicates with mother Earth, as he/she is entrusted with the bounties she offers.
Farming, over the last few decades has changed in its essence with the advent of modern practises. It is slowly taking the farmer away from his true roots, and essentially turning what was once his responsibility toward mankind, into an unethical burden. Modern farming methods were introduced in the 1920’s brought on by the severe social and economic conditions of the time. The period of history riddled with wars and famine plaguing the Earth; and a growing concern of food shortage, concepts like chemical farming, GMO’s, mechanization began taking precedence.
On the surface, the advent of chemical farming had four major advantages
- Use of chemical fertilizers and artificial hormones helped in improving the growth rate of crops.
- Genetically modifying plants made them resistant to droughts and pests.
- Addition of pesticides and weed killers into the agricultural cycle improved the survival rates of the
- Using machines in agriculture to simplify many labour intensive tasks and produce quicker results.
These were meant to be a short term solutions taken by governments across the world to fix the food shortage crisis. For example: The Green Revolution in India during the latter half of the 20th century was aimed at just this. We don’t think this was meant to be a long time approach. Over time, many industries saw an opportunity in the agriculture sector, which made agriculture another cash cow for purely business minded corporates. Agriculture was no longer fully sustainable, and lead to the advent on many unethical practises.
Luckily for us, many farmers who saw farming as a responsibility towards the Earth and mankind held out against the modern trends. Even today a small bastion of farmers still follow farming the traditional, the ethical and the organic way. What we refer to as organic food, is what our elders actually called Natural food. Crops grown with chemicals were probably looked on with suspicion by them.
If we look at organic farming as a whole and how it is different from modern farming, the difference is a whole lot deeper. Many people consider organic food to be food grown without any chemical inputs. But there is a lot more to the story. Organic Living and Sustainability are highly inter-related.
While figuring out what to do with our lives just about a year back, we had the same problem, the problem of bias that arises with limited knowledge. To better understand what Organic Farming was, along with the zest and curiosity to be a part of this is we took off. Our story across 10,000 odd kms through 4 different states. A journey we started trying to understand what organic farming was about; led us to meet dozens of farmers. Farmers, no different from you and I with stories of struggles they face,t and the hurdles they had to overcome while truly trying to make a difference. Interactions with them taught us that organic farming is not a profession, but is a passion. It may not be a profit making venture, but they consider it to be a responsibility toward the Earth and mankind. It is not just cultivation of food crops, but an attempt by them to ensure we grow food without harming nature.
The concept of organic farming in a nutshell is thus, to cultivate crops utilizing natural methods, without external influences that ultimately benefits the consumer, the farmer and the Earth.
Conventional farming today focuses on just the production of food crops. In an attempt to get crops with a higher per hectare yield, more resistant to diseases and those that grow quicker, we have failed to see the negative impact it has had on us and on the Earth.
The contaminated water tables, the loss of cultivable land, erosion and degradation of top soil are some of the soil/and related issues. There has also been the extinction of many species of insects, plants and animals due to rampant use of chemicals and incessant lumbering. There are just some of the detrimental effects modern farming has had on the Earth.
Human Health and Immunity has only degarded over the years.The most noticable signs are diseases like cancer, and the levels of immunity dropping in the human body over the years. Conditions like allergies, asthma, diabetes etc are alarmingly increasing all across the urban space. The advent of speciality hospitals and thriving healthcare industry is proof that the failing health of man is also a lucrative business opportunity.
In fact, India is one of the worst affected when it comes to diseases caused by the rampant spraying of chemicals. In a village in Punjab, at the heart of the green revolution, the levels of nitrogen in the ground water due to nitrogen fertilizers were found to be more than 4 times the recommended levels. This led has led to a large number of people in the vicinity falling prey to Cancer.The local train ferrying these poor souls to nearest medical facility has been locally dubbed as the ‘Cancer Train’.
Organic farming is a choice, a responsibility taken up by the organic farmer to ensure that the food he grows is safe to consume and is made keeping the balance of nature in mind. He does not get the same yield in terms of volume and the time taken for him to cultivate a food crop maybe longer when compared to a conventional farmer. He is out there fighting our battle for us, without any benefits from the government. The crops he cultivates and calls Organic is the crop nature intended it to be with all the nutrients intact. Organic food is therefore not an extravagance reserved for the elite, but is the safest form of the most basic human right.