Biodynamic farming, developed in 1924 was the first of the organic agriculture movements. It is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition.
Conventional farming consists of using synthetic Fertilizers often produced from petroleum-based chemicals, mined minerals, and caustic acids along with Synthetic pesticides and herbicides to produce the most attractive product as quickly and easily as possible.
- Cover Crops are planted rather than leaving the soil bare
- Animals are used to mow or terminate the cover crops adding their manure to the soil to add fertility
- sometimes other plant or manure-based amendments are added to the soil for added fertility
- Occasionally mined minerals are added of severely lacking
- Cover crops and/or weeds are sprayed with chemical herbicides to terminate them introducing additional toxins into the soil
- Frequent tillage is common in most conventional farms, but no-till farming is beginning to enter into the picture in the last few years
- Chemically derived, salt-based Fertilizers, many of which are byproducts on the Petroleum industry, are spread on fields to add fertility. These salts build up over time harming the soil, or running off into waterways.
Farmers are no stranger to bugs eating the plants they work hard to cultivate. The differences in pest management practices basically come down to working with nature or actively trying to control it.
- Beneficial insects such as predatory wasps, ladybugs, Praying Mantis, dragonflies, and more prey on the insects that typically eat on crops.
- Encouraging these beneficial insects naturally lowers pest populations where very little damage is done.
- Conventional farmers spray wide pesticides on crops to kill insects that eat on crops, covering food with a wide range of chemicals that degrade to varying degrees. Killing both pest and beneficial insects, including necessary pollinating insects like native bees and butterflies.
- Weeds are reduced by using cover crops that are then grazed on by animals such as cows and chickens. Cows are allowed to graze the fields greatly reducing the cover crop to the ground, terminating it.
- Chickens then follow up, scratching and eating what’s left, including weed seeds & insect larvae (reducing insect sprays for cows), spreading the cow manure, and adding fertility to the soil.
- Excessive tillage is used to reduce weed pressure by chopping and inverting the soil so weeds have a hard time living in it, while also reducing microbial populations.
- Another method for reducing weed pressure is herbicidal sprays. These sprays are designed to kill either specifically targeted plants or a wide range, depending on their purpose.
- Genetically Modified crops (GMO) allow excessive spraying of herbicides with the advent of “Roundup-ready” crops.
- Crops are harvested as they ripen at times of the day to ensure they have the longest shelf life possible.
- Harvesting fruit and vegetables in early or late hours keeps them cooler and fresher for markets
- Better flavor and nutrition!
- Crops are harvested, often by machines, when they are the “toughest” and stored to ripen in warehouses
- Harvesting in this way ensures that they survive long trips to grocery stores and markets, but sacrifices flavor, nutrition, and quality.
- At least they look good!
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