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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Pongal, Sustainable Organic Natural Agriculture

During the auspicious Pongal (Tamil Harvest Festival) I want to present this article for farmers.

As an environmental scientist and information technologist I could share
my useful knowledge and experience for the benefit of the natural farming community.

Farmers practicing natural methods have questions about plant diseases, weeds and pests (how to control them in a natural way).

Natural methods are there for sure to control diseases, weed and pests:

Neem, Cow manure, butter milk, garlic, turmeric, chilies, physical fly catchers, diatomaceous earth, row covers, crop rotation and integrated pest control can be used. You can google about each topic (along with natural pest control) and read more, understand and practice. One thing to note is our agricultural forefathers have been using these methods successfully. I have heard that the amount of yield was so high that they had to use elephants for removing husk from rice instead of bulls. They had mastered the natural farming techniques at very high level. Water management - I was surprised to know that drip irrigation was mastered by placing an earthen pot with water near the tree, ploughing techniques using bulls (for Nitrogen Fixation) and crop rotation. Then came chemical take over. We converted our lands into sterile lands rather than fertile and lively lands.

Read about natural methods from -

Tamilnadu Agricultural University

Here I want to mention that there are no concise definition of Organic Farming. Some say that Organic farming is more dangerous than chemical farming. It is how one defines what is Organic Farming and how one practices organic farming.

In my definition and what we practice in our farm - Sustainable Organic Natural Agriculture (SONA):

- SUSTAINABLE - Food production along with objectives to protect the environment, eco-justice. human health and communities.

- ORGANIC - We use farmyard manure (derived from living organisms such as cows, wastes from produce grown at EA FARMS and without the use of artificial chemicals).

NATURAL Every input into the farm is from natural materials produced in the farm (also following Nature and Eco-justice) in proper limited amount (not excess amounts).

At EA FARMS Agriculture - we understand that - "when the limit exceeds even Ambrosia (Amurtham) is poisonous" as our traditional old saying.

Some suggests that weeds are there for a reason.That is also true. That takes me into two directions -

1) Natural farming:
          experience by the great Japanese natural farming pioneer Masanobu Fukuoka. Again you can google about him, read and acquire his natural farm methodologies.

2) Spiritual farming:
            Never go for single type of crop, always have different types of trees, plants, crops (different layers). Diversification is the key word. You need to have COWS for farming. We consider cattle as main part of our agriculture and they provide milk, fertilizer and help in ploughing and transportation. We heart fully thank them during Pongal.

Kankrej Cow @ EA Farms

Even chickens will help in reducing the pests. There are agricultural universities and best researchers in the them. Discuss with them understand your soil and ask them for natural methods.

Creating seedballs (earth balls) consisting of variety of seeds

In spiritual farming,  I think the first step is to love your farm (each part of your farm - what I mean is soil, plants, animal and people involved in it). If you do that in your farm, your trees, plants, crops, animals and farm will flourish. Even Scientifically, Scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose, long back have found that plants can feel pain, understand affection etc.,

Just by touching and interacting with plants, you see them flourish 

Which we have experienced personally. You might have also experienced that. Finally you work with your farm naturally and spiritually to make it a wonderland.

Great to have several guides (Subash Palekar Ji, Nammalavar, Pasumai Vikatan)  for practicing natural farming.

We will and are following these steps at EA Farms -  and share our knowledge to everyone.

We should be thankful for all these and follow Natural Farming.

Good Luck to farmers all over the world.