why this ecological approach makes sense ….
Organic practices are great for growing chemical-free food and getting premium prices for products. However, growers rely on expensive inputs - fuel, machinery, fertilisers, pest controls, and farm-made alternatives like compost, bio-fertilisers, biochar, and mulch.
Agricultural Economists recommend counteracting declining profit margins by either ‘getting big’ or farming more intensively. ‘Get Big’ farmers shoulder the risk of narrowing profit margins by expanding their production base. But this approach requires considerable capital investments and the production systems have little inbuilt resilience.
The other option is to intensify production by increasing the return per hectare of land or dollar invested. It’s an approach requiring less up-front costs. But how can farmers grow more without extra fertilisers, pest controls, labour and machinery?
How can they intensify production without increasing costs? Will they be any better off?
What is the solution?
Bringing Nature’s FREE ecological services back to our farms, using the technology Nature has developed over 3 billion years to create ecosystems that are:
- Highly productive with the energy and resources they have available
- Self maintaining
- Resilient - quickly rebuilding essential functions and processes after disturbances
- Environmentally sustainable
Everything we would like for our farms.
By restoring the key ecological functions - nutrient and water cycling, energy capture, and the beneficial connections to use these resources efficiently – farmers have a easier and cheaper way to grow food. They also increase the resilience of their production systems to extreme weather, sequester carbon, and have the joy of bringing Nature back to their farm.
How do we do it?
Change is challenging, even if what we are doing now is not working as well as we would like. As anyone who has converted from so-called ‘conventional’ to organic practices will tell you, change doesn’t happen overnight! It takes time, and growers worry about the risks and costs involved.
We need a transition process that’s simple, straightforward, and low-risk.
That’s why I’ve put together the toolkit of the Ecological Practices taught at this workshop. Using these Practices farmers:
- Grow from your Strengths
- Restore Nutrient Recycling
- Capture more solar energy
- Improve your Water Cycle
- Build connections
- Work with Nature’s restoration Strategy
At the workshop, participants will learn how to apply the Practices. Developing solutions that are responsive to their production systems and growing conditions, by understanding the ecological rationale – the why - behind the Practices.