Everywhere in the world, people have begun realizing the importance of organic farming to the environment and our health. But farmers are not finding the support they need to turn their once conventional farms into organic farms. They don’t have the resources. They don’t have the expertise. They cannot get the training they need. Where should they turn to? Who will teach them what they need to know about this age-old model of farming?
Organic farming isn’t new. It certainly isn’t a fad. There’s nothing unconventional about it, too. Truth to say, organic farming is the conventional method of agriculture and not the other way around. The 20th century has made us think we’re doing the conventional way of farming through chemical fertilizers and pesticides, but organic farming has been around since time immemorial.
Many farmers are willing to transform acres of their agricultural land into an organic farm. They are willing to do the work, but they cannot find the support they need. Where should they start? How will they go about the transformation of the soil, for example? Many are resourceful enough that they depend on the resources found on the internet, as well as on the community of organic farmers they find online. Through exchanging notes and experiences, these farmers are able to build their own community where they share their knowledge about organic agriculture.
Why is it harder to manage an organic farm? In the conventional method, farmers can simply spray fertilizers on the soil and plants so they will grow and can be harvested. But this cannot be done in an organic setting. Organic agriculture demands that the products be free from any synthetic chemicals and that includes fertilizers, herbicides, growth hormones, insecticides, and pesticides.
What farmers have to do is to treat these naturally. They have to learn how to manage soil nutrients without fertilizers. They have to learn how to tackle weeds and insects without using herbicides and insecticides. It takes practice, learning, and patients to be able to do this. For farmers so used to conventional farming methods, it’s a steep learning curve.
The three years in transition also affects the decisions of farmers to turn to organic farming. Can you imagine three years of not harvesting anything that farmers can sell? That requires big support from organizations pushing farmers to do organic farming than conventional farming. Without this support, farmers are going to have a hard time dealing with the impacts of organic farming.