To better understand sustainable agriculture in its most simplistic terms we can divide the Agricultural Growing Methods into 3 types of farming practices
Conventional Growing Method
First, there is conventional farming that relies on the heavy use of synthetic chemicals fertilizers. Without them, nothing would grow. The soil has become void of any beneficial properties or life.
The majority of conventional farmers rely on hybrid and GMO seeds. Most farming systems have now genetically modified the seeds themselves to contain organisms not natural to seeds. Mainly organisms designed to cause the crops to be resistant to harmful herbicides like the chemical Round Up, so that the crops may be sprayed to kill weeds and not the crops.
Monocropping and row cropping are the exclusive styles for farming.
Organic Growing Method
Second, we have organic farming. Many organic farms are growing crops in the same conventional fashion, excluding synthetic chemicals and fertilizers, but incorporating organic chemicals and fertilizers.
Many growers in organic farming are utilizing organic hybrid seeds and some open pollinated varieties, but foregoing GMO crops which seed is already chemically induced.
Organic farmers are found to be row cropping and monocropping as well.
Sustainable Growing Method
Sustainable Agriculture relies heavily on nature itself to create a natural ecosystem. Instead of chemicals, synthetic or organic to control pests and disease, diversity and companion plantings are incorporated throughout the farming system.
Soil and nutrients are introduced by incorporating organic matter back into the soil to ensure healthy organisms, microbes, nutrients, and structure of the soil. Cover cropping is also employed into the overall practices of the farm. Weeds are controlled in much the same manner.
Instead of mono-cropping or row cropping, plantings are designed to implement a mixture of various plants to benefit the crops. Some include trap crops, companion plants to induce the attraction of beneficial insects. This includes both below the soil where we cannot see and within the general ecosystem. Some plants are incorporated to help improve the plants' growth or deter bad insects.
As many growers are now joining the wave with sustainable methods, we invite you to share your thoughts with us. Do you share the vision that sustainable farming could lead us in a positive direction for future generations?