Home | About | Donate

Ploughing on Regardless


Ploughing on Regardless

George Monbiot

Imagine a wonderful world, a planet on which there was no threat of climate breakdown, no loss of freshwater, no antibiotic resistance, no obesity crisis, no terrorism, no war. Surely, then, we would be out of major danger? Sorry. Even if everything else were miraculously fixed, we’re knackered if we don’t address an issue considered so marginal and irrelevant that you can go for months without seeing it in a newspaper.


The alternative to ploughing, is no-till farming which requires heavy herbicide use (and herbicide-resistant GMO seeds). So pick your poison.


That’s a very narrow understanding of agriculture. There are plenty of time-tested practices that produce abundant food, sustain and build soil, without any use of chemical pesticide. You’re free to “pick your poison,” but i’ll opt for a healthy food system.


The Rodale Institute has an ingenious system where a roller pushed in front of a tractor crimps the stems of a winter cover crop while the tractor pulls behind it a planter that cuts into the cover crop mat and plants the seed.

If you start with the premise that poisoning is not an option, you find ways that work with the nature of plants–crop rotation, mulch, green manure, hedgerows, contoured swales–then farming becomes a participatory act with nature rather than a fight against it.


[quote]Masanobu Fukuoka is a farmer/philosopher who lives on the Island of
Shikoku, in southern Japan. His farming technique requires no machines, no chemicals and very little weeding. He does not plow the soil or use prepared compost and yet the condition of the soil in his orchards and fields improve each year. His method creates no pollution and does not require fossil fuels. His method requires less labor than any other, yet the yields in his orchard and fields compare favorably with the most productive Japanese farms which use all the technical know-how of modern science.[/quote]


Sort of, causes and alternatives constitute the main body of the article in the Guardian, this is just the intro to it. Just click on the link to the Guardian at the top.