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Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture - early 20th century brought major transformations in agricultural methods
by Global Good News staff writer
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6 September 2013
The main theme of Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture is 'agree-culture'—agreeing with the culturing intelligence of nature. Beginning in the first half of the 20th century, according to Dr Peter Swan, an expert in this field, there has been a revolutionary transformation in commercial agriculture and home gardening. The emphasis before was on the use of strong chemicals and heavy equipment as the mainstays of farming methods. The transformation from its inception was geared towards doing less and accomplishing more, while healing the soil that had been depleted.
The main impetus for this transformation from chemical/industrial agriculture to natural/organic agriculture started in India. Sir Albert Howard, a British researcher and administrator working in India during the early 20th century, learned from small farmers there how to make compost. By making compost and applying it to the soil he discovered he was able to restore soil quality and fertility. During his career Sir Albert inspired people throughout the world to make and use compost in order to combat the ravages of chemical fertilizers on the soil.
The restoration to natural agriculture, and later organic agriculture, began with composting and has grown and spread gradually around the world. In a recent presentation at Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in the Netherlands, Dr Swan gave several examples of approaches farmers have developed that improve natural farming methods—all in the direction of less effort expended to accomplish the same or more than before.
In conventional agriculture a tractor or other heavy equipment passes over each field an average of 8 times, for tilling, weeding, planting, fertilizing, harvesting, etc. More recently, in some areas no-till agriculture has begun to replace the conventional method and the farmer usually passes over the soil two or three times.
By seeding a cover crop in the fall, and then rolling it down at the same time he is seeding the field in the spring, the farmer provides a layer of mulch that keeps the ground moist, prevents weeds from growing, and provides a fertile environment for the seeds to sprout and grow. This method is called no-till farming (as the ground does not need to be tilled) and with each year improves the quality of the soil.
Another example of increasing efficiency on every level, called pasture cropping, is becoming more common throughout the world. During the rainy season farmers graze sheep in fields of natural grasses and herbs, areas which would otherwise become overgrown. At the end of the rainy season, the sheep are moved to another grazing area, and the grasses that are left go into their rest cycle, which means they dry up. Into the dried grass the farmer seeds his crop. There is no need to plough. The crop sprouts through the resting grass, and grows beautifully, unhampered by the grass. At the end of the season when the crop is harvested, below the harvest line are seen the natural grasses, once again starting to grow and nourish the soil as they recover from the dry season. After the grass grows up a bit the sheep are again brought back to graze, keeping the grass in check. In addition to an organic field crop, the farmer has a crop of wool provided by shearing his sheep.
Tests show soil improves every year using these two natural methods. As well, costs drop dramatically, to about 10% of the former expense.
These are two examples of farming more in accord with natural law, Dr Swan said.
Copyright © 2013 Global Good News Service
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