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'Knowing how your food is grown ' A solution to better health  and environment for your family.

 

Currently I am writing a book on how food is grown and this fell out on the page...sorry to get all new ageish on you but I liked it.

It's a tough life being a farmer. Quite often in middle of the drought or a tough financial time on the farm I used to ask my father why do we do this (bio-dynamic farming) and he always used to say the same line to me and I quote.

"Someones gotta do it"
Now that's all he said but the way he said it and repeated it meant this..

Someones gotta produce good food for our children
Someones gotta feed the local population
Someones gotta regenerate the soil
Someones gotta take the chemicals out of our food
Someones gotta take responsibility
Someones gotta do it... and its gotta be you.
Its gotta be you that takes your individual life and uses it to help shape our new world for the better ...............even if it's a bit tough.

What is water soluble fertiliser ?
•A powdered synthetic fertilizer that is mixed with water and poured on the soil or sprayed on the foliage. Such solutions are commonly used for commercially grown plants but they can also be used throughout the garden.
Manure tea and other liquid forms of organic fertilizers are used similarly. Some fertilizers might food make food toxic, or at least diminish its nutrition and may go into lakes and rivers and cause algae.
Water soluble fertilser goes up the tap root of the plant, when the plant wants water. The toxin can be put aside in the cell, suspended in water and can be held there whilst the plant looks for food. This toxin in the cell can be mistaken as added growth.

Thoughts about food and agriculture.

" As a biodynamic farmer I am not against all chemicals, some of them have various roles in our community. I just don't think we should put them on our food."

" Some people think they can buy cheap food and wash off the chemicals, not knowing that some of the chemicals are systemic meaning they're in the whole plant system and can never be washed off".

Why is organic food more expensive ?

One of the main reasons is weeding, a conventional farmer can spray weedicide on their soil  before planting a crop, ( leaving chemical residues in the soil) spend a few hundred dollars and know that it is all done. Where as an organic farmer may have to use mechanical weeders several times and even employ labour to hand weed which costs thousands of dollars. You are paying for this extra time and labour, you are paying for clean food to put in your families meals and you are investing in sustainable agricultural practices. for future generations of farmers and consumers. It's not an expense but an investment.

What is hydroponics?

The cultivation of plants in nutrient-enriched water,  in such mediums as sand or gravel like material. Artificial chemical or water soluble fertilizer is added to water, in solution and is pumped through a system of irrigation pipes to the plant roots, on a regular basis. Then as the  plants grow, the concentration of the solution and frequency of pumping are increased. Chemical pesticides and fungicides may be used  but weedicides are not as the plants are not grown in soil where weeds usually reside. A wide variety of vegetables and florist crops can be grown satisfactorily in gravel and fertiliser but it is classed as probably the least natural method of food/plant growing.

 

 

 

What is conventional agriculture anyway?

This usually means food is grown on farms where chemicals could possibly be used, in the growing, storing and manufacturing process eg chemicals in soil fertilizers, fungicide coated on seeds to keep in storage, weedicides can be sprayed on soil to kill weeds, insecticides can be sprayed on fruit to kill pests and chemicals can be used to store product and extend shelf life once it has been manufactured (like sulphur dioxide). This is not always the case but the use of all these technologies is available to the farmer.

 

 

What are fungicides  ?

When weather conditions on a conventional farm become warm and moist all sorts of fungi (and related diseases) decide it's a good time to grow. This is a natural process of breaking things down to recycle them, but it doesn't look good on fruit, vegetables and grains. In order to prevent this, there is a whole host of chemical sprays and powders been invented. They can be applied before and after rain or whenever conditions are right for fungal spores to spread.

What are weedicides?

In order to keep food cheap for those consumers who demand it, conventional agricultural scientists had to come up with a cheap way of killing the weeds but not the vegetables or crops being grown. Spraying toxic chemicals on the weeds or in the soil  before the crop is planted has been the most commonly used method but genetic engineering and specific chemistry can allow spraying on some crops as it grows. Residues of these toxins are monitored and a standard has been set so no illness occurs in humans short term,

 What are systemic chemicals?

Any chemical whether it be weedicide, pesticide or fungicide that penetrates the plant's system, either to kill organisms or pests that feed on the plant or to kill the plant itself. The other day  I was invited to do a talk on biodynamics and I was telling the group about conventional orchardists in our area, spray weedkiller under their trees constantly. (You can see the brown grass in the photo below) This is to keep the irrigation tubes free of obstruction. The weedkiller is systemic , it penetrates the roots of the weeds spreads into the foliage and then kills the whole plant. It will also penetrate the fruit tree and go into the fruit and then off it goes to the supermarket. These systemic chemicals cannot be washed off. ( ref http://www.naturisme.com.au/articles/articles-foodquality.htm )

 

 What is organic agriculture?

It stems from the word 'organ' meaning all practices used within the method should be advantageous to the whole organism or at least minimise any harm. It should be beneficial to the soil, plants , animals, consumers and the environment. This is why mostly natural substances are used in the growing and manufacturing of food and the need for synthetic chemical fertilisers, insecticide, weedicide etc are not used as they are non beneficial to the whole system.

 

What is Biodynamic Agriculture?

It is similar to organics in that it adopts a wholistic approach to  farming and it too doesn't use toxic chemicals anywhere in it's process. The main difference is it was created by Rudolf Steiner an Austrian scientist in the early 1900's and it focuses on building soil humus levels to fertilise the plants and not some added water-soluble fertiliser. Humus is illustrated as the dark colloidal material in the soil below.

 

Aren't you glad to have organic and biodynamic fruit and veg available.

 

This is an exerpt from the forthcoming book. 'Knowing How Your Food is Grown ' A solution to better health and environment for your family.  If you would like to make any suggestions or know when this book comes out just drop us a line at  saveoursoil59@gmail.com

 


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