It’s Sunday night and I’m on my laptop to begin this passionate subject – Organics!
My mind was whizzing with random topics and bits of information to write on this column. I realized then that the best way to start is with history. The past can reveal so many hidden secrets that the world is now re-discovering.
It is only a matter of a hundred years that such change has occurred — and thankfully grandmothers still exist to tell us to treat a cold with honey and basil!
For every problem we recognize with our current living system that is incompatible with nature, we need to look into old knowledge banks.
Our ancestors, wore clothes, cooked food, had shelter and traveled extensively, sans technology. We struggle to do the same in this generation of automatic, disposable culture without harming the environment.
Organic farming is rooted in ancient knowledge passed down through generations.
Hence I’m going to suggest some reading material to begin with. The books are by pioneers who were disturbed by the technological high and finally found their ways to a better and greener living.
Though the books are based on Agriculture, we need to understand where our food comes from and make right choices. Personally, reading them has taught me to respect the existence of matter, living and non-living in this chain called LIFE.
The One-Straw Revolution – Masanobu Fukoka
A Japanese Agricultural Scientist was in dilemma with his spiritual principles and the science he was practicing. He left his job and went back to his father’s farm and practiced Agriculture. The author takes you through a journey of revelation. He went on to become the Father of Natural Farming and Do-Nothing Farming. This book is a must for all those who wish to understand the difference of Organic and Conventional Agriculture.
Silent Spring – Rachel Carson
By the conventional practices and hazardous pesticides like DDT, we destroy several eco-systems that thrive and survive in farms. This natural historian writes on how pesticides have affected birds and the environment. She chose to call her book so, as the birds of the Spring season, were no longer heard chirping.
Ancient Roots, New Shoots : Endogenous Development in Practice – Bertus Haverkort, Katrien van ‘t Hooft & Wim Hiemstra (eds)
The Present global problems of poverty, ecological destruction and loss of cultural diversity call for innovative solutions. This book presents a number of field experiences of endogenous development, or development from within, in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. With a good balance of theory and practice, this book can be immensely useful to development practitioners, researchers and policy makers, especially in the fields of rural development, agriculture, natural resource management and health
An Agricultural Testament – Sir Albert Howard
The author worked in India when the country was still under the British Empire. He came to spread the use of chemical fertilizers but after 25 years, left with the understanding of nature. By working with poor farmers he understood a great deal of traditional farming practices in relation to the soil fertility that a healthy eco-system survives on.
Agriculture: An Introductory Reader – Rudolf Steiner
Steiner is the father of Bio-Dynamic Agriculture that revolves around the science of the cosmos that play a major role in the time crops are planted. This natural science is related to Vrikshayurveda (Sanskrit term to mean the Plant Life Science or the Science of Plant Life) – (Vriksha = tree + Ayur- Veda = science of life). In the Organic Revolution, Bio Dynamic Agriculture is gaining more ground and is the present trend.
Look to the Land – Lord Northbourne
Northbourne coined the word “Organic Farming”. Chapter 3 contains the differences between Organic Farming and Chemical farming. He teaches that the farm is an organism, a living entity that has a balanced organic life. The eco-system is interdependent and every creature has a role to play in this balance. He was inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s work on Agriculture. To Northbourne Organic Agriculture determines the quality of food we eat, “Food of better quality is food which has vitality, individuality, freshness; food which is grown right, not only food that looks right; food which is effective as a vehicle of life and is not either mere stimulant or mere filling”