ELEESA’ ORGANIC COLUMN JANUARY
Everyone at the Organic Market and Farm wish you health and happiness for the year ahead.
The Farm is flourishing, with the market gardens producing an abundance of leafy greens, herbs, and seasonal veggies. You can’t get any fresher than that, freshly picked and most importantly chemical free. The soil is painstakingly prepared to be the perfect environment for nutrient rich produce, with no added nasties.
It is a common misconception that organically grown food is only for the hippies and hipsters. It isn’t a fad, it is a choice. With every dollar we spend on our food, we support either a system that enhances and preserves our earth and our health, or a system that destroys it.
Growing food organically was the traditional way to produce food, there weren’t synthetic and chemical based solutions to fertilise crops, or control weeds and pests. Farmers worked with nature and the seasons, growing a diverse range of food whilst always caring for their soil. They knew if they damaged the soil, they would produce less yields in subsequent years. Crop rotation with nitrogen rich legumes meant the staple crops thrived, and families were fed.
In the 1940’s to 1970’s there were sudden advances in the development of new seed stock, and artificial pesticides and fertilisers came onto the market in industrialised countries. It must have seemed a god send at the time; more crops could be produced with less problems and higher yield. The use of these sprays was revolutionary in fact, though after the first series of high yields, most crops no longer recorded increasing yields from the new technology. It only took a few decades for the herbicide resistant weeds to emerge, and the insects were becoming resilient to insecticides.
In the 1960’s a book was released called Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, she exposed the wide-spread residual effect of pesticide on the health of the environment and more surprisingly (at the time) on people. She had researched the subject thoroughly, and the book soon became a controversial best seller. She brought attention to the effect humans were having on the natural world.
There was of course strong opposition from the chemical companies, but the concerns she raised eventually lead to a nationwide ban on DDT in the United States. She had started a social movement and stirred an awakening of environmental consciousness in the public.
“How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
This was the beginning of communities, and particularly farming communities noticing the ill effects that the high regime of chemical spraying was having on their farms and their own personal health.
Equally noticeable was the decrease in soil quality and the increase in problems occurring from the synthetic fertilisers. Unfortunately, even today, the need to produce high yields in monocultures due to the very low prices farmers are paid for their produce, means the poor practices continue.
Farming organically means a holistic approach with great recognition for the role we play in local ecosystems, and human health. Organic prices are more transparent than conventional growing, as our economy doesn’t factor on the true environmental and health issues that arise from industrial farming. Instead your taxes pay to solve the degradation to the environment, and the health system that is required to deal with the myriad of health issues that arise from the consumption of chemically grown produce.
This year I pray as a community and society, we start to see clearly the negative impact we are having on the environment, and support positive measures to care for our planet, our health, and the health of the plants and animals on earth.