Always wanted to do your bit to promote Ecological Agriculture in India?

We bring you some great tips to get you started!

Healthy Soils = Healthy People.

Yes, soil is the foundation for agriculture. Good soil supports a multitude of microorganisms and life forms, which in turn break down nutrients from different sources such as compost and make it available to plants. Therefore if soils are nutrient rich, so is the food grown from that soil! In fact, the FAO has also recognised 2015 as the International Year of Soils.

Be a locavore!

You could be a carnivore, an omnivore or a herbivore! No matter what ‘vore’ you are, always be a locavore. Eat local. Flying down food from the rest of the world not only immensely adds to the carbon footprint, but means that the food has no nutrients remaining in it. Seriously, imagine a kiwi being packed in New Zealand and then preserved and sent across half the world before you bite into it. What do you think remains after it is picked, then transported, then packed, and how long it sits in the cargo before it is even shipped. And the same steps in reverse before you pick it up from the store. If you’re in India, eat Nagpur oranges or mulberries, and jackfruits rather than blueberries or dragon fruits. Conversely if you’re in Italy, eat the cheese and pastas and not Mexican or South Asian food. You get the drift, right?

Compost!

Over half of the waste generated in a regular Indian household comprises food leftovers/scraps, can be converted into compost (food for microbes in the soil). And that can then be used to grow safe food!  *Did you know that about 30-35 percent of the waste we generate if segregated can be further recycled. And we are only left with 5-7 percent (which is sanitary waste, hair, nails, etc) that needs to be incinerated. There are a number of ways to generate compost. Here’s one such method:

Small and marginal farmers feed the world!

Yes, you read right! The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has already recognised that small and marginal farmers (like a majority of Indian farmers) already feed over 70 percent of the world. A smaller percentage of farmers own a majority of the agricultural land. But that is often diverted for cultivating cash crops such as biofuels, which do not contribute towards food security.

India is replete with ecological solutions!

Take Kedia for instance. With Greenpeace’s knowledge and facilitation, the entire village of Bihars Jamui District, which mostly comprises farming families adopted ecological practices and are rapidly transitioning away from their addiction to chemical fertilisers and pesticides. And that too without compromising on production! Kedia has become a shining example of an ecological solution. If Kedia can do it, so can the rest of the country. If you haven’t already read about this inspiring story, here you go!

 

 

Shivani Shah is a Food For Life Campaigner with Greenpeace India.