OB016

Aug 2005

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We have so far grown 3 crops on our 2 acre farm in one year. We do not use any fertilizer or pesticide or even weeding. We just plant our crop and water regularly from our pumpset (when there is no rain). We have so far grown rice, green gram, black gram and the vegtable okra (bhendi in Hindi and Vendai in Tamil). We have grown Daincha for in-situ ploughing as green manure.

From our observation of the plants, soil, so called pests, eco-system and our own food requirement (for a family of 3 adults and 2 kids) we discovered some rather startlingly pleasant facts:

1. To grow the complete food requirements, round-the-year, for a family of 5, about 30 - 40 cents of land is more than adequate! ( 1 acre=100 cents)

2. The labour required to grow our own food is less than 3 hours per week.

3. Plants do very well without weeding, fertilizer or pesticides. They dont do so very well with these, in the long run

4. Pests (which is a misnomer really) eat less than 25% of the whole production - whereas pesticides ruin the whole ecosystem. Pests are the result of our pure-cropping system of farming - in an integrated natural farm they are natural balancers and help in natural selection.

5. We dont need the green revolution, or genetically modified seeds or agricultural extension workers for food sufficiency. Self reliance is both necessary and sufficient for self sufficiency.

6. Farming as an exercise in self-reliance is very rewarding and easy . It produces health and harmony and is in reality meditation of a kind.

7. Farming as a business enterprise is stultifying, violent and deeply frustrating. Profitability in farming should be the result of natural surplus of production and not its goal.

8. The real parasite on earth is man - more precisely his greed. Commerce is a more deadly disease than cancer.

9. Green-revolution, agricultural economics, planning commission, rural development etc are city-peoples' excuses for parasiting on the land.

10. The closer you are to your real needs and their production, the closer you are to truth.


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