Alternative farming or agriculture has to do with cultivation techniques that are eco-friendly and responsible towards the environment. But first this begs the question as to why it is called “alternative farming” rather than farming?
As you know, big crop producing farms do rely on pesticides and fertilizers to cultivate land, they grow single crops (typically one of the seven big staples such as corn, soy, wheat, etc) for export to other countries. In this manner, the farmer is reliant on the money earned for the crops, and not reliant on the food for subsistence.
Many farmers that use alternative farming techniques refrain from using fertilizers and pesticides simply because of what it does to the soil and the underground water system. If the soil is managed properly organic, alternative farming is healthier for people and planet in comparison to large scale commercial farming. Studies have shown that alternative crop cultivation can reduce the amount of nitrate levels in both the surface and ground water.
Nitrogen-based fertilizers are essential vital for crop production, but only when used in moderation can it be environmentally safe. Nitrogen is a mobile form of nitrate and when there is too much present, it percolates through soil and escapes to water systems.
Here a solution is needed to reduce soil and water pollution without affecting crop delivery at the same time. Agriculture is a big part of many countries’ economies and, a decline in delivery, will also negatively affect not only the people residing there, but the ability to apply more eco-friendly techniques.
Using organic methods and fewer chemicals will in the long run produce not only a healthier end product, but a healthier, more sustainable environment for growing crops.
Sustainable farming has a wider definition and requires that safer, more eco-friendly techniques be applied while still satisfying the human need for food. It also includes that resources be managed in such a way that not only the environment is protected, but the economy and the human need as well.
The Alternative Farming Systems Information Centre (AFSIC) is a type of library service that specializes in bringing information to those who need information and ask questions about alternative farming, better known as alternative agriculture.
This is a widely used resource and offers help on topics such as sustainable farming systems, livestock and crops.
As is, our farms across the globe are not producing enough food to feed the entire world. There are nations and communities that suffer because of this and alternative agriculture sometimes poses the question of what is more important.
Do we feed our people or protect the environment?
This question unfortunately does not have a plain answer. By taking away fertilizers and pesticides that help to increase crop delivery, will result in a devastating effect on the world’s food resources. The answer lies in finding healthier alternatives to replace those we do have without affecting the amount of crop we can deliver.