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The soil and health: A study of organic agriculture

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Abstract

During his years as a scientist working for the British government in India, Sir Albert Howard conceived of and refined the principles of organic agriculture. Howard's The Soil and Health became a seminal and inspirational text in the organic movement soon after its publication in 1945. The Soil and Health argues that industrial agriculture, emergent in Howard's era and dominant today, disrupts the delicate balance of nature and irrevocably robs the soil of its fertility. Howard's classic treatise links the burgeoning health crises facing crops, livestock, and humanity to this radical degradation of the Earth's soil. His message - that we must respect and restore the health of the soil for the benefit of future generations - still resonates among those who are concerned about the effects of chemically enhanced agriculture.
... interrelationships between the stars, soil and geochemical elements, plants, animals and humans) to propose a new kind of agriculture that excluded the use of any chemical input. The most influential and rational approaches to modern organic farming were those by Howard (1940Howard ( , 1952, Balfour (1944) and Rodale (1945); for detailed reviews of the history of organic farming see Scofield (1986) and Lotter (2003). They shared one main objective, which was to improve soil, plant, animal and human health by biologically managing soil fertility. ...
... Howard's opinion, as expressed in The Soil and Health (1952), matches Balfour's holism, his causal interpretation of the relationship between soil, plant, animal and human health being anchored in the idea of a cycle of the proteins and their quality between living beings. Even if his opinion was to some extent ideological, Howard (1940Howard ( , 1952 wrote rigorous technical handbooks on the production of compost, which he termed 'manufactured humus'. ...
... The denomination of Mother Goddess has been adopted not only solely by priests and religions but also by scientists, as shown by Patzel (2010) in an article devoted to what belonged (in the psychoanalytical sense) to the 'unconscious' in the discourse of the pioneers in soil science at the end of the 19th century, like Fallou (1862) and Senft (1888), or Steiner (1924, Howard (1940Howard ( , 1952, Balfour (1944) and Rusch (1972), among the supporters of organic farming. ...
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In this chapter, soil organic matter (SOM) benefits will be considered from two different perspectives: (i) the scientific perception of 'SOM benefits' between the 18th century and today; and (ii) how various contemporary religions and societies, including farmers of Western cultures, perceive soil and SOM benefits. Perceptions of the benefits of SOM (or humus) varied greatly in Western culture according to changes in historical scientific theories. Different periods can be considered. In the first part of 19th century, the 'theory of humus' by Thaer, dealing with a large popularity of SOM management for soil humus, was considered as the main nutrient for plants. In 1840, the new 'theory of the mineral nutrition of plants by Liebig demonstrated that humus was not the main source of nutrients for plants, with the consequence that there was no important need to manage organic fertilization: the popularity of humus was largely decreasing. With the emergence of environmental problems due to bad SOM management, the popularity of OM management is newly increasing. The best example is the concept that soil could be a large reservoir for atmospheric carbon sequestration, and this confers special attention to plant residue management. In addition to scientific knowledge or economic considerations, the practices of farmers around the world are also highly dependent on their own culture (religious and cult aspects). To illustrate this point, this chapter gives as examples not only the beliefs of the Buryat (Lake Baikal) and the Dogon people (Mali) but also the opinions of three groups of French farmers towards soil and the benefits of SOM, dealing with completely different attitudes vis-a-vis the adoption of different agricultural alternatives.
... interrelationships between the stars, soil and geochemical elements, plants, animals and humans) to propose a new kind of agriculture that excluded the use of any chemical input. The most influential and rational approaches to modern organic farming were those by Howard (1940Howard ( , 1952, Balfour (1944) and Rodale (1945); for detailed reviews of the history of organic farming see Scofield (1986) and Lotter (2003). They shared one main objective, which was to improve soil, plant, animal and human health by biologically managing soil fertility. ...
... Howard's opinion, as expressed in The Soil and Health (1952), matches Balfour's holism, his causal interpretation of the relationship between soil, plant, animal and human health being anchored in the idea of a cycle of the proteins and their quality between living beings. Even if his opinion was to some extent ideological, Howard (1940Howard ( , 1952 wrote rigorous technical handbooks on the production of compost, which he termed 'manufactured humus'. ...
... The denomination of Mother Goddess has been adopted not only solely by priests and religions but also by scientists, as shown by Patzel (2010) in an article devoted to what belonged (in the psychoanalytical sense) to the 'unconscious' in the discourse of the pioneers in soil science at the end of the 19th century, like Fallou (1862) and Senft (1888), or Steiner (1924, Howard (1940Howard ( , 1952, Balfour (1944) and Rusch (1972), among the supporters of organic farming. ...
... …I mean, nature doesn't exist in a way where animals and plants are completely separate, and we can't continue to do that on our agricultural landscapes. (Interview, Dec. 9, 2015) This sentiment echoes that of Sir Albert Howard (2006Howard ( [1947: The evidence that supports the importance of mixed agricultural systems certainly challenges the notion that organic farms focused solely on livestock could be the peak of 'sustainability.' In particular, organic farms that raise one kind of animal, especially in large numbers, cannot be said to have achieved their agroecological potential. ...
... …I mean, nature doesn't exist in a way where animals and plants are completely separate, and we can't continue to do that on our agricultural landscapes. (Interview, Dec. 9, 2015) This sentiment echoes that of Sir Albert Howard (2006Howard ( [1947: The evidence that supports the importance of mixed agricultural systems certainly challenges the notion that organic farms focused solely on livestock could be the peak of 'sustainability.' In particular, organic farms that raise one kind of animal, especially in large numbers, cannot be said to have achieved their agroecological potential. ...
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In this dissertation, I explore the overlap between climate change and food production, focusing on the concept of food sovereignty and the potential for ecological farming to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. I unveil how the concepts of food sovereignty and agroecology are (and are not) being taken up by Canadian farmers, farmers’ organizations and others who have a stake in climate change debates. Based on two years of scholar-activist-oriented research, including interviews with farmers and ethnographic engagements on farms and at events focused on agricultural politics and practices, I describe the opportunities and constraints for agroecological approaches to contribute to mitigating climate change, as well as the significant political, geographical and socio-cultural challenges that are generally inhibiting the actualization of food sovereignty in Canada. Focusing on the work of La Vía Campesina’s two member organizations in this country, the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Union Paysanne, I am concerned with the basic problem of how tensions between systemic and pragmatic changes are articulated through agroecology initiatives and food sovereignty advocacy. My essential claim is that a broad counterhegemonic movement will be required in order for there to be a significant shift in climate and food politics in Canada. Food sovereignty and agroecology have the potential to be incorporated into a system change agenda, I argue, but any serious effort to move them forward, and tackle climate change, will require confronting capitalism itself. I do not suggest that this will necessarily require overt anticapitalist campaigns, but rather that farmers and other food sovereignty proponents will do well to grapple with the structural constraints within capitalism, while finding ways to talk about and pursue radical change through ostensibly more prosaic initiatives. As part of the counterhegemonic shift I am pointing to, I also argue that farmers’ organizations will need to prioritize both strategic alliance-building with various groups, as well as political education activities that can help both farmers and non-farmers make progress on these fronts, disrupting apolitical approaches to climate and food issues.
... It is a focused approach to studying natural resources and their interactions, and to jointly addressing the growing food, water, and energy security challenges [25]. While the integrated research involving FEW-related issues, meaning the interactions and intersections between historically separated natural resources and the implications of human actions with respect to those resources have been known and studied for many years by scientists and policy analysts [114], soil processes in general and those pertaining to the management of soil organic carbon (SOC) in particular [47] have not been integrated into the overall nexus concept. Yet, such an integration is crucial to the effectiveness and success of the concept. ...
... Soils can have positive or negative effects on human health, and anthropogenic activities can improve or degrade soil health [94]. Healthy soils are the foundation of all other resources (e.g., food, energy, and water), climate, and human securities [47]. However, soil resources are finite and in some cases not renewable over human time scales. ...
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Purpose of Review Soil is the medium for plant growth and the substrate for all biogeochemical and biogeophysical processes. Soil’s unique natural organization forms the foundation of any food–water–energy nexus system. It forms a habitat for billions of diverse micro, meso, and macrofauna and flora and is the basis of numerous ecosystem services essential to human well-being and nature conservancy. It moderates soil hydrological processes within the entire vadose zone: which is part of the earth between the soil surface and the phreatic zone. Soil structure also supports numerous ecosystem services including nutrient transformation and availability, water quality and renewability, denaturing and transport of pollutants, and groundwater table fluctuations. It also moderates the soil–water–plant-energy nexus with the replenishement of green-water supply (from precipitation) for plants and soil biota, which in turn enables the production of biomass as a source of food, feed, fiber, and biofuel feedstock. Indeed, soil is a very large reservoir for water and carbon with strong influences on local, regional, and global climate. Also, the energy factor is connected with the climate change through soil–water–food–energy nexus because of numerous interlinked pathways including gaseous emissions, energy and food production, and recycling of nutrients and water at regional, national, and global scales. Through provisioning of numerous ecosystem services, the soil–water–food–energy–climate nexus is interwoven with the ecosystem security and functioning of planet’s four ecospheres (i.e., atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and the biosphere). Therefore, the health of soil, plants, animals, people, and ecosystems is one and indivisible. Recent Findings This interconnectivity is also the basis of the “4 per Thousand” initiative adopted by the COP21, the Climate Summit of 2015 in Paris, and “Adapting African Agriculture” (AAA) by COP22 in Morocco. Consequently, soil is not only a foundation for securing the natural resources: food, water and energy, but it is under desperate need to be integrated and appreciated in understanding the complex interconnectedness of any food, energy, water and soil system. Concentration and stock of soil organic carbon are the key soil properties that determine the physical, chemical, biological, and ecological properties and processes, and are major control of all nexuses described herein. Summary This chapter presents a conceptual model and the role of soil as a naturally organized medium to protect global food, water, energy securities. Moreover, it elaborates on using soil as a basic nexus tool and proposes a paradigm shift in integrating soil and creating the food–energy–water–soil nexus.
... She was convinced that there must be something lacking in the foods of the day that was not lacking in the foods of the nation's more robust forefathers (Balfour, 1943: 35). Her view was shared by the British agronomist Sir Albert Howard (1873Howard ( -1947, her co-founder in the Soil Association, who stated that perfectly healthy soils are the basis for health on earth and that undernourishment of the soil is at the root of all problems (Howard, 1947: 12). ...
... There is a spiritual world hidden in nature. Anthroposophy A. Howard, 1873-1947E. Balfour, 1899-1990 Inorganic fertilizers speed up humus breakdown in soil ...
Article
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This paper reviews the original reasons of the organic farming movement for excluding mineral (inorganic) fertilizers. In this paper, their theories and decision criteria for excluding use of inorganic fertilizers in crop production were revisited. Original reasons for banning inorganic fertilizers were subjected to scientific scrutiny, which was not possible when they were formulated 50–100 years ago due to limited knowledge of the soil-crop system. The original reasons were as follows: Rudolf Steiner, the founder of biodynamic farming, played down the physical role of plant nutrients and pointed out “flow of forces” as being most important for soils and crops. Eve Balfour and Albert Howard, founders of the Soil Association in England, claimed that inorganic fertilizer increases the breakdown of humus in soil, leading to a decline in soil fertility. Hans-Peter Rusch, the founder of biological organic farming, considered inorganic fertilizers to be imbalanced products not matching crop composition and not in synchrony with crop demand. When testing these historical statements as scientific hypotheses, older and modern scientific literature was used for validation. Steiner’s belief about the “flow of forces” has not be verified using current methodologies. The claim by Balfour and Howard that inorganic fertilizers accelerate soil organic matter decomposition is not substantiated by data from long-term field experiments on carbon and nitrogen cycling in soil-plant systems. The statement by Rusch that inorganic fertilizers supply crops inappropriately is difficult to uphold, as the composition, time, and rate of application and the placement of fertilizer in soil or on foliage can be fully adapted to crop requirements. In light of accumulated scientific evidence, the original arguments lack validity. The decision to ban inorganic fertilizers in organic farming is inconsistent with our current scientific understanding. Scientific stringency requires principles found to be erroneous to be abandoned.
... Major individuals in the organic agriculture movement also weighed in on the soils and health issue starting in the 1940s. Howard (1940;1947) addressed links between soil fertility and human health, as did Balfour (1943) and Rodale (1945). These books provided hypotheses, that is, the idea that better soil conditions should produce better food products and therefore better health, more so than tested theories, but they provided strong evidence of the interest that was developing regarding how soils could impact health. ...
... These books provided hypotheses, that is, the idea that better soil conditions should produce better food products and therefore better health, more so than tested theories, but they provided strong evidence of the interest that was developing regarding how soils could impact health. Balfour's (1943) work is noteworthy in that soils and human health is the focus of the book, rather than being a side-note such as in Howard's (1940;1947) work. ...
... It is a focused approach to studying natural resources and their interactions, and to jointly addressing the growing food, water, and energy security challenges [25]. While the integrated research involving FEW-related issues, meaning the interactions and intersections between historically separated natural resources and the implications of human actions with respect to those resources have been known and studied for many years by scientists and policy analysts [114], soil processes in general and those pertaining to the management of soil organic carbon (SOC) in particular [47] have not been integrated into the overall nexus concept. Yet, such an integration is crucial to the effectiveness and success of the concept. ...
... Soils can have positive or negative effects on human health, and anthropogenic activities can improve or degrade soil health [94]. Healthy soils are the foundation of all other resources (e.g., food, energy, and water), climate, and human securities [47]. However, soil resources are finite and in some cases not renewable over human time scales. ...
Article
Full-text available
The original version of this article, published in Current Sustainable Renewable Energy Reports, Volume 4, Issue 3, September 2017, inadvertently misspelled an author’s last name on the title page as Haimanote Baybil. The correct name is Haimanote Bayabil.
... An Agricultural Testament influenced the Soil Society work in England as well as the writing of J. I. Rodale in the United States. Subsequent works by Howard elucidated further the connections between soil and health and clarified the methods to be used in an agriculture based on biological struc ture rather than on the use of synthetic chemical inputs (Howard, 1945(Howard, , 1946(Howard, , 1947. ...
... Bromfield felt strongly that the sensitivity, skill, and dedication required of a good farmer meant that "not everybody can farm" (1950). Several other authors, including Pfeiffer (1947), Cocannouer (1950Cocannouer ( , 1954Cocannouer ( , 1958, Hainsworth (1954), Howard (1947), and Widkenden (1949), continued through 1956 to articulate the increas ing environmental harm and resource degradation brought about by "modern" farming methods. They repeatedly advocated the holistic approach to agriculture. ...
... Howard concluded that humus-rich soils are the key for successful organic farming. In his famous book 'An Agricultural Testament', he emphasized that the whole farm is the starting point and basic unit of agricultural research and that much of the disease is due to inadmissible farming methods without proper care of soil (Howard 1947 (Ghosh 1984). Acharya (1949) quantified the cattle manure and town waste produced in India and estimated its composition. ...
Chapter
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Climate, water and soil have been the major determinants of agricultural productivity. These three vital natural resources are eternally related with one another and also with crop, animal and human health. Climate determines the availability of water and formation as well as health of soil. Climatic processes, on the other side, are also influenced by water bodies and soil. Since the beginning of the civilization, when the hunting and food gathering humans started to settle down initiating domestication of animals and growing crops, these natural resources shaped the human activities and dictated the path of the progress of the civilization. The importance of these resources was well known to the Indians since the Vedic and Epic ages. Kautilya's Arthasastra discussed meteorological aspects of agriculture, different rain-bearing clouds and measurement of rainfall using a fixed dimension vessel as a rain gauge. Poet Kalidasa mentioned the dates of onset of monsoon and its path over central India in his famous epic Meghdoot. Manu, of the fame of "Manusmriti", recognized the Sun as the source of energy for all weather systems. Varāhamihira's Brihat Samhita discussed planetary movements, eclipses, rainfall and clouds. Scientific study of climate, however, started in the 17 th century after the inventions of instruments for accurate measurements of climatic controls. In 1793, first meteorological unit, one of the oldest stations of the world, started in Madras by J. Goldingham. With several other developments in climatology, the climatological charts of India and neighbourhood was published by India Meteorology Department (IMD) for meteorologists and Airmen in 1946. As agriculture grew, the use of water available in rivers, lakes and underground reservoirs through the water withdrawal structures were developed. The Kings, Emperors and Rulers constructed withdrawal and conveyance structures to carry water to the fields and domestic use.
... Regarding crop residue Smil (1999), describes how no nation keeps comprehensive statistics on its production and fate. He also describes how a large proportion of this phytomass does not return fertility to the soil due to combustion on-farm, or export from the agroecosystem as feed or fuel, breaking the 'law of return' of organic agriculture (Howard 2006)-a loss that goes unrecorded. Numerous studies provide evidence that inorganic fertilisers are increasingly replacing and/or supplementing recycled biomass for fertilisation at the regional level. ...
Article
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The global agriculture, aquaculture, fishing and forestry (AAFF) energy system is subject to three unsustainable trends: (1) the approaching biophysical limits of AAFF; (2) the role of AAFF as a driver of environmental degradation; and (3) the long-term declining energy efficiency of AAFF due to growing dependence on fossil fuels. In response, we conduct a net energy analysis for the period 1971-2017 and review existing studies to investigate the global AAFF energy system and its vulnerability to the three unsustainable trends from an energetic perspective. We estimate the global AAFF system represents 27.9% of societies energy supply in 2017, with food energy representing 20.8% of societies total energy supply. We find that the net energy-return-on-investment (net EROI) of global AAFF increased from 2.87:1 in 1971 to 4.05:1 in 2017. We suggest that rising net EROI values are being fuelled in part by 'depleting natures accumulated energy stocks'. We also find that the net energy balance of AAFF increased by 130% in this period, with at the same time a decrease in both the proportion of rural residents and also the proportion of the total population working in AAFF-which decreased from 19.8 to 10.3%. However, this comes at the cost of growing fossil fuel dependency which increased from 43.6 to 62.2%. Given the increasing probability of near-term fossil fuel scarcity, the growing impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, and the approaching biophysical limits of global AAFF, 'Odum's hoax' is likely soon to be revealed.
... It was the first scientific, side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional farming. P 1940 -Sir Albert Howard's book, "An Agricultural Testament", was influential in promoting organic techniques, and his 1947 book "The Soil and Health, A Study of Organic Agriculture" adopted Northbourne's terminology and was the first book to include "organic" agriculture or farming in its title (Howard, 1947). P 1940 -In Japan, Masanobu Fukuoka, a microbiologist working in soil science and plant pathology, begun to doubt the modern agricultural movement. ...
Chapter
Till 15th century agriculture was the main source of income and given top priority all over the world and in India it was considered as the sacred profession due to lifeline of society. However, the story of agriculture started to change with the advent of industrial development in Europe and later on other parts of the world that changed the attitude towards agriculture production that the production is possible with the use of synthetic chemicals and seeds rather with the harmony of nature. The system was very well fitted in the industrialization process as so many chemicals have been produced and marketed. Therefore, it was given a good name green revolution in tune of industrial revolution. The system given miraculous results for a short time till the buffer capacity of soil and ecosystem as a whole exhausted in later part of twentieth century. Also, the industry become the main source of income therefore, agriculture was started to get lesser attention. The declining trend in productivity of soil and agriculture system as a whole in second half of 20th century as results of this approach is visible around the globe. Now it is being realized all over the world to revisit the agriculture production system that was based on harmony with nature and prevailed for millenniums and fed the world without any negative consequences. This nature friendly system was studied by some of the agriculturist in middle of twentieth century and given the name “Organic farming”. Rather than describing chronology that is monotonous and to make a logical analysis of the past the history of this system can be divided into three phases namely Revisit, Recognise and Reshape the present form of organic farming. If the analysis shows that the system in past was sustainable and can be make more efficient with modern understanding of eco-friendly science than there should not be hesitation in ‘return to right’ path.
... Soil quality is defined as 'the capacity of a soil to function within ecosystem boundaries to sustain biological productivity, maintain environmental quality, and promote plant and animal health' (Doran and Parkin, 1994;Doran et al., 1996). The principles of SH and organic agriculture were first promoted by Sir Albert Howard, founder of organic agriculture and author of Soil and Health: A Study of Organic Agriculture (Howard, 1947). Soil quality is comparable to SH in the context of our discussion. ...
... Agroecological practices on farms and in landscapes aim to restore and enhance ecological health, biodiversity, soil fertility, and access to land through community (re)building. Such practices are based on the understanding that the health of soil is reflected in community, individual, and planetary health (Balfour 1943;Howard 1947;Wall et al. 2015), and that the act of eating is an agricultural act (Berry 1990), shaping bodies and habitats. ...
... Organic agriculture developed as a response to the negative health and environmental impacts caused by modern chemical technology (Steiner, 1924;Balfour, 1943;Howard, 1947;Rodale, 1948). Efforts to legitimize and popularize organic techniques were met with contempt, hostility and derision from many in the agricultural establishment, particularly government agency officials, researchers at publicly funded universities, conventional farming organizations, and the manufacturers of agricultural chemicals. ...
Article
More resilient and sustainable approaches are urgently needed to minimize crop yield losses resulting from pest activity and reduce impacts of pest management on human health and the environment. Increasing implementation of biological approaches, including biological control, biopesticides, biostimulants and pheromones is a mutual high priority for sustainable agriculture leaders and practitioners, including those working in organic agriculture and Integrated Pest Management (IPM). While market and regulatory forces, and pest resistance to conventional pesticides are contributing to growth in implementation of biological approaches, they remain a very small percentage of the overall global crop protection portfolio. Barriers to greater adoption include many of the same barriers to adopting IPM techniques or transitioning to organic. Improved awareness and understanding of the histories and benefits of organic and IPM, goals and priorities shared by organic and IPM proponents and practitioners, and opportunities for accelerating adoption of biological approaches have potential to improve our combined effectiveness in overcoming these barriers. Strategies to speed adoption include increased education and extension on proven, ready-to-use biological control options; full cost and benefit accounting for biologically-based alternatives to chemical controls; and public and private sector policies to encourage biological control and reduce reliance on chemical controls. Both the organic and IPM communities of practice stand to gain from collaboration on common interests and goals.
... Howard, A (2007).The soil and health: a study of organic agriculture. University Press of Kentucky ...
Thesis
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Pour de nombreux pays, la sécurité alimentaire est le défi majeur que l’agriculture doit relever, tout en assurant la durabilité environnementale. L’intensification durable de la production et la prévention des pertes de récoltes sont des éléments clés pour augmenter les productions et garantir leur régularité, l’utilisation massive d’intrants (Engrais, pesticides) est le plus souvent la solution la plus facile et la sure à court terme. Ces pratiques d’intensification entrainant des consommations parfois excessives d’engrais et de produits phytosanitaires ont un impact négatif sur l’environnement et la santé, ce qui pose aujourd’hui le problème de la durabilité de ces modes de production. Assurer la sécurité alimentaire par des processus d’intensification et la durabilité environnementale semblent être alors en opposition. Les conséquences sur l’environnement et la santé humaine de l’intensification des pratiques agricoles avec l’utilisation croissante de produits chimiques ont amené la société civile, et les pouvoirs publics à s’interroger sur la pérennité de ce système de développement et à interroger le monde scientifique pour proposer d’autres modes de production permettant un développement durable. Comment mettre en place des systèmes de production agricole durables dans les territoires, tout en répondant aux objectifs d’accroissement de la production pour assurer un niveau acceptable de sécurité alimentaire. Cette question aujourd’hui, s’inscrivant dans un contexte de changement climatique est devenue centrale pour les responsables des politiques. L’agriculture est associée à la notion de territoire, la durabilité environnementale à une problématique collective, ce qui modifie les paramètres de formulation des actions de politiques publiques. Il faut aujourd’hui construire des démarches de gestion intégrées et collectives de l’agriculture dans ses territoires, en prenant en compte les acteurs locaux et les potentialités et les spécificités de l’environnement physique. Pour construire un projet collectif, il est donc nécessaire de comprendre les représentations que les usagers et parties prenantes dans la gestion et l’utilisation de l’écosystème se font de sa dynamique et des interactions entre règles d’usages et comportements des acteurs locaux. Quels outils et méthodes doivent mettre en place les décideurs dans les territoires pour répondre à ces objectifs ? Le cadre de travail se situe à l’interface de différents champs scientifiques ; agronomie, géographie et économie. Une modélisation du fonctionnement du territoire comme instrument de support au dialogue semble être appropriée pour une telle démarche ; devant permettre de simuler différentes alternatives et de permettre des regards croisés. La première partie de la thèse va s’attacher à une revue de littérature des instruments et méthodes existant dans ce domaine, notamment en termes d’indicateurs de caractérisation et de solutions alternatives en terme de production. Le choix en terme de méthode générique s’oriente pour l’instant vers l’élaboration d’outils de simulation spatialisés, collectifs et interactifs. L’objectif est de pouvoir construire une méthode d’élaboration de plans stratégiques agricoles permettant de poser les fondements d’une politique publique territorialisée. Le terrain d’application sera la région de la Bekaa au Liban , qui est une zone d’intensification agricole au Liban, et contribuant de manière très importante à la production agricole du Liban.
... The surplus after consumption by the family is still smaller (Marx, 1927, Kondratiev, 1921, Schumpeter, 1942, Panzar & Willig, 1975, Teece, 1980, North, 1984, Nayak, 2013c. Technology in the given context refers to process of farming, type of farm inputs, type of farm machinery and processing technology for value addition activities (Howard, 1940, Shiva, 1993, IAASTD, 2009, Collette, 2011, Gopalakrishnan, 2012, UNCTAD, 2013, Nayak, 2012a. Ownership refers to level of shareholding by the producer members in the producer organization (Sethi, 1979, 1986, Ostrom, 1990, Nayak, 2010. ...
Conference Paper
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This study aimed at analyzing ecologically organic dryland orange fruit value chain and its associated challenges in Northern Ethiopia. Data were collected from farmers, experts, traders and consumers. Results of this study indicate that distribution of benefi ts among the value chain actors differ substantially. Above all, little focus was given for the organic orange fruit development by support institutions mainly in the areas of product differentiation, price determination and branding for the organic product. Hence, organic certifi cation, market linkage and strengthening producer’s cooperative are paramount important to sustainably promote Ecological Organic fruit production.
... It is increasingly being pointed out that sustainability of agriculture shall depend on systematic and scientific management of soil, seed, moisture, plant protection and integration of agriculture. More than the external industrial inputs of fertilizers, chemicals, pesticides, healthy soil management have been explained to be the key to high yield and sustainable production (Howard 1943(Howard , 1947. Soil health is linked to overall management of other dimensions of moisture management, seed, cropping pattern, and integration of agriculture with livestock and forestry. ...
Article
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What does this article offers? It raises questions on the assumptions of efficiency in agriculture, traces the history of the logic of scale replacing logic of scope, analyses its impact on sustainability and offers a framework to discern technical contradictions of efficiency across different sectors and find a balance for sustainability. It delves with a few basic questions: First, what is the assumption for efficiency in agriculture and food production? Second, how efficiency criterion of dominant players in one leading sector decimates the efficiency wisdom of another sector? Tracing the evolution of theory and practice of ‘ economies of scale ’ during the last three centuries of industrial revolution, the article shows the irony of adopting economies of scale time and again only to face greater economic recession, market failures, climate changes, food crisis and growing un-sustainability of our ecosystem. Through empirical evidences from small family farmers and farmer producer organizations from across India and based on the findings of eight years of action research on designing sustainable producer organization, the article highlights that ‘ economies of scope ’ in agriculture is not only more efficient for nutritious food production and climate resilience but also for sustainability of agricultural ecosystems and of overall socio-economic-environment.
... Soil health is a function of various soil attributes (physical, chemical and biological) which respond to land management and vary in space and time (Soil Quality Institute, 1999). One of the first persons to link the principles of soil health and organic agriculture was Sir Albert Howard, a founder of organic agriculture and author of 'Soil and Health: A Study of Organic Agriculture' (Howard, 1947). Soil quality is comparable to soil health in the context of our discussion. ...
Chapter
Although organic standards do not refer directly to soil health, organic agriculture has the potential to improve soil health and environmental services by promoting soil conservation and reducing greenhouse gases. This chapter presents findings from a field experiment which continuously monitored the soil health of an organically managed production system from 2003 to 2014. The experiments focus on intensive organic vegetable crop production systems typical of experienced fresh market growers. The research sought to evaluate short- and long-term effects of various different management systems, including crop rotations, cover crops and animal amendments. We discuss the impact of these measures in terms of nutrient release, soil health, greenhouse gas emissions and ecosystem structure and function.
... The Roman writers Cato, Columella and Varro all described soil, fertility, crop rotation and erosion issues in their treatises (Columella and Ash, 1941;Hooper and Ash, 1934). With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and its impacts on farming, a number of writers in Europe, North America, India and Japan discussed environmental and social issues related to emerging and past agricultural practices (King, 2004;Lowdermilk, 1953;Howard, 2006). The Dust Bowl in the United States during the 1920s brought the soil erosion and farm management issues to a national level (Bennett, 1947). ...
Chapter
Our modern apple production systems have substantially increased in productivity and sophistication over the last several decades. Much of the rest of this book focuses on the science and technology by which those increases have occurred. However, like many other modern farming systems, increased productivity often results in undesirable environmental impacts, which lower the overall sustainability of the enterprise (Merwin and Pritts, 1993). Focusing on increasing yields and fruit quality at the sacrifice of maintaining agricultural resource bases such as land, water and biodiversity can significantly threaten the long-term viability of orchards, particularly if resources become so degraded or contaminated that future production becomes limited or impossible. Minimizing negative environmental impacts, such as pesticide residues, greenhouse gas emissions and habitat loss of farming systems, is embodied in the concept of ‘sustainable agriculture’. In this chapter, we explore how this concept that became institutionalized in the 1980s applies to modern apple production systems. The authors, both based in the United States, draw on their familiarity with examples in that country in order to illustrate ideas and experiences, rather than provide an exhaustive review.
... our nation may be impossible to restore without first restoring the health of our soils." 9,10 This editorial discusses three issues related to soil health and invites research manuscripts related to clinical, educational, and advocacy/policy efforts aimed at improving soil health in order to improve human health. First, let's begin with a basic definition. ...
... In organic agriculture practice proper soil health management can be maintained through seasonal soil analysis and natural nutrient balancing. [110] There is an another aspect of organic farming researched by various researchers stating that the soils with heavy metals are not feasible for organic agricultural practices as chemical nutrient management strategies are needed to be supplemented. [111,112] Some management techniques are discussed in this paper. ...
Article
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Organic farming helps to improve the health of agro-ecosystem by its holistic approach using on-farm agronomic, biological and mechanical methods in exclusion of all synthetic off-farm inputs. Although the organic farming is eco-friendly, question arises about possibility to adopt the organic farming for the large scale and its impacts on maintaining the productivity of land to meet the food security challenges from the ever-increasing population of the world. But at the same time, consumer's behaviour and consciousness toward the safe and healthy food enforced the thinking of farmers toward the organic farming which is more lucrative due to high market demand and value of organic produce. This paper mainly addresses about the present status and future scope of organic farming especially in North eastern region of India, State of Sikkim, Indian and Global scenario and to investigate the major external and internal factors that influence the whole organic system including production and marketing of organic commodity.
... The father of cell biology, Rudolf Virchow, also recognized the relationship between human and animal health and passed it along to his student, Sir William Osler, who brought the concept to North America. Sir Albert Howard, President of the National Academy of Sciences in India, said in the early 20th century, "Health of soil, plants, animal, and people is one and indivisible" (Howard 1943(Howard , 1945. The concept of "One Health" has continued into the 21st century by both veterinarians and physicians who recognized that many animal illnesses have much to teach physicians about human health. ...
... In the early 20th century, a prominent figure of what is now called organic agriculture, Sir Albert Howard, erroneously turned to mycorrhizal fungi when seeking to explain why compost is better for plant health than chemical fertilizers (Gieryn, 1999). In 1946, commenting on the predominant trend in agriculture, Howard wrote of a "failure to realize that the problems of the farm and garden are biological rather than chemical" (Howard, 2006;p. XXV). ...
Article
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Across industrial societies, midsize farms are in decline. A future of sustainable agriculture will require more than industrial and cottage farmers. We show that emergent mycorrhizal science is well‐suited to support applications for an “agriculture of the middle,” and note two obstacles to the development of more integrated mycorrhizal technologies: an overreliance on commercial inoculants (industrial agriculture) and a tendency to treat soil biology as a black box (cottage agriculture). In this paper, we aim to provoke conversation among policy makers, research funders, and corporate executives on the development of mycorrhizal technologies for an agriculture of the middle. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are dealt with in agriculture in a strongly bifurcated way: products and techniques to optimize AMF communities are designed for either large‐scale (industrial) or small‐scale (cottage) farming operations. We show how research and applications with AMF are bound up in these contrasting visions for what agriculture should be—an industrial system based on economies of scale, or small‐scale operations that cater to regional societies, economies, and ecologies. These distinct socially and technologically bound initiatives—which involve research institutions, government policies, corporate investment, activism, and public relations campaigns—we refer to as sociotechnical imaginaries. Drawing from emergent mycorrhizal research, we argue that mycorrhizal technologies are well‐suited to an “agriculture of the middle,” a mode of farming that is not strictly scale‐based, yet falls somewhere between the industrial and the cottage. Unlike these two extremes, middle agriculture does not have a well‐established sociotechnical imaginary. Developing this collective vision poses a challenge: will a middle agriculture that uses AMF fall short of the established goals of industrial and cottage modes of farming? The process of determining appropriate compromises on a wide range of parameters is likely to be contested. However, we believe that calling attention to these extreme visions of agriculture, along with the divergent (if potential) roles of mycorrhizal applications, will jumpstart a productive dialogue among stakeholders, including farmers, policy makers, scientists, and industrialists. Highlighting extremes may also help stimulate ideas about building bridges between seemingly irreconcilable and contradictory approaches. Across industrial societies, midsize farms are in decline. A future of sustainable agriculture will require more than industrial and cottage farmers. We show that emergent mycorrhizal science is well‐suited to support applications for an “agriculture of the middle,” and note two obstacles to the development of more integrated mycorrhizal technologies: an overreliance on commercial inoculants (industrial agriculture) and a tendency to treat soil biology as a black box (cottage agriculture). In this paper, we aim to provoke conversation among policy makers, research funders, and corporate executives on the development of mycorrhizal technologies for an agriculture of the middle.
... L'apport de matière organique végétale est favorablement complété par un apport de matières organiques animales sous forme de fumier par exemple. Toutes ces pratiques, qui finalement visent à retourner à la terre une grande partie de la biomasse produite, pourraient se résumer dans ce que Sir Albert Howard, un des pionniers de l'agriculture biologique, appelait la « Loi du Retour » (Howard 1947). ...
Book
Fruit de nombreuses années de recherches et d'actions, ce manuel capitalise les connaissances des paysannes et paysans des coopératives appuvées par le Secaar au Togo et au Bénin. Leur succès est un appel à partager ce savoir et à le rendre accessible au plus grand nombre. Au total 15 pratiques sont analysées, expliquées et illustrées.
... Any weakness or defect in the health of any earlier link in the chain is carried on to the next succeeding links, until it reaches the last, mainly, man." (Howard, 1947). Although our understanding is yet at its infancy, future research on microbiome cycling and nutrient cycling (Altieri and Nicholls, 2003;Datnoff et al., 2007) may hold the key to better understanding the chains connecting healthy soils to plants, animals, humans, and ecosystems. ...
Article
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Many soil health assessment methods are being developed. However, they often lack assessment of soil-borne diseases. To better address management strategies for soil-borne disease and overall soil and plant health, the concept of Integrated Soil Health Management (ISHM) is explored. Applying the concept of Integrated Pest Management and an agroecological transdisciplinary approach, ISHM offers a framework under which a structure for developing and implementing biointensive soil health management strategies for a particular agroecosystem is defined. As a case study, a history of soil-borne disease management in California strawberries is reviewed and contrasted with a history of arthropod pest management to illustrate challenges associated with soil-borne disease management and the future directions of soil health research and soil-borne disease management. ISHM system consists of comprehensive soil health diagnostics, farmers' location-specific knowledge and adaptability, a suite of soil health management practices, and decision support tools. As we better understand plant-soil-microorganism interactions, including the mechanisms of soil suppressiveness, a range of diagnostic methodologies and indicators and their action thresholds may be developed. These knowledge-intensive and location-specific management systems require transdisciplinary approaches and social learning to be co-developed with stakeholders. The ISHM framework supports research into the broader implications of soil health such as the “One health” concept, which connects soil health to the health of plants, animals, humans, and ecosystems and research on microbiome and nutrient cycling that may better explain these interdependencies.
... Nearly a century ago, Sir Albert Howard wrote a seminal book on the relationship between soils and human health (Howard 2006). Based on his experience in the British colonial government in India, Howard developed the opinion that industrial agriculture would inevitably lead to soil degradation and widespread impacts on human health. ...
... Given the negative impacts of industrial-productivist agriculture, there is an urgent need to explore alternative agricultural approaches that can support transformations (Van der Ploeg 2020; Bene 2020). Many alternatives have been documented, such as agroecology (Gliessman 1990(Gliessman , 2001(Gliessman , 2007Altieri 1995;Iles 2020;Conway 1985Conway , 1987, permaculture (Mollison 1988;Holmgren 2007), carbon farming (Baumber et al. 2019(Baumber et al. , 2020Toensmeier 2016;Ridinger 2016), natural farming (Fukuoka 1978), keyline farming (Yeomans 1993), organic agriculture (Howard 2013(Howard , 1940Leu 2020), biodynamic agriculture (Steiner 1993), Indigenous land stewardship (Gammage 2011;Pascoe 2014;Romero-Briones et al. 2020), climate smart agriculture (Codur and Watson 2018) and holistic management (Savory andButterfield 2016, 1999;Savory 1988;Gosnell et al. 2020b) or adaptive management (Hodbod et al. 2016;Teague and Barnes 2017;Teague and Kreuter 2020). These alternatives have developed their own discourses, communities of practice and underlying philosophies that challenge extractive food systems. ...
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Agriculture occupies 38% of the planet's terrestrial surface, using 70% of freshwater resources. Its modern practice is dominated by an industrial-productivist discourse, which has contributed to the simplification and degradation of human and ecological systems. As such, agricultural transformation is essential for creating more sustainable food systems. This paper focuses on discursive change. A prominent discursive alternative to industrial-productivist agriculture is regenerative agriculture. Regenerative discourses are emergent, radically evolving and diverse. It is unclear whether they have the potential to generate the changes required to shift industrial-productivist agriculture. This paper presents a literature-based discourse analysis to illustrate key thematic characteristics of regenerative agricultural discourses. The analysis finds that such discourses: situate agricultural work within nested, complex living systems; position farms as relational, characterised by co-evolution between humans and other landscape biota; perceive the innate potential of living systems as place-sourced; maintain a transformative openness to alternative thinking and practice; believe that multiple regenerative cultures are necessary for deeply regenerative agriculture; and depart from industrialism to varying degrees. The paper concludes by reviewing three transformative opportunities for regenerative discourses-discourse coalitions, translocal organising and collective learning. Supplementary information: The online version supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10460-021-10276-0.
... Whenever termites forage over the ground, they must maintain their relationship to the soil so that workers and soldiers can return and replenish their body moisture regularly, the relationship of the soil to the termites formed by the mud tubes (Howard, 2006;Turbe et al., 2010;Pervez, 2018). If the pipe is damaged, the worker termites will be compelling reconstructed. ...
Article
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Eusocial insects have a diverse mechanism of reproduction to know the termite genealogy, and we examined the Reticulitermes aculabialis breeding mechanism. This well-known species was reared in an artificial environment under darkness at Northwest University, Xian, China, from May 2018 to June 2019. After the inaugural colonies foundation, imagoes started egg-laying during 30-40 days. The hatching ratio increased gradually during the time. The femal+male (FM) worker reproductive (ergatoids) colonies were reported significantly (p<0.005) in egg-laying and chambers making than primary reproductive (imagoes). The morphological measurement shows that the swarmer alates were significantly (p<0.005) extended along with wings, mean live weight of the queen was significantly heavier (p<0.005) than workers but not statistically different mature reproductive queen. The sex ratio of workers was found significantly dominant (p<0.005) among individuals in the colony and busy to find food sources, caring for young termites and eggs, constructing galleries, and helping the soldiers to defend the colony from predators, increases the efficiency of the effectiveness, protection from pathogens and parasites.
... The importance of the soil-human health nexus has also been recognized ever since the dawn of civilization (Howard 1947;Magdoff 2001;Sherwood and Uphoff 2000;Brevik 2014;Brevik and Sauer 2015;Pepper 2013;Oliver and Gregory 2015;Wall et al. 2015;Kemper and Lal 2017;Lehmann et al. 2020). Viewing soil as a living ecosystem transforms the way we think about soil and how to improve and manage it to advance our agricultural production without degrading environmental quality. ...
... The importance of the soil-human health nexus has also been recognized ever since the dawn of civilization (Howard 1947;Magdoff 2001;Sherwood and Uphoff 2000;Brevik 2014;Brevik and Sauer 2015;Pepper 2013;Oliver and Gregory 2015;Wall et al. 2015;Kemper and Lal 2017;Lehmann et al. 2020). Viewing soil as a living ecosystem transforms the way we think about soil and how to improve and manage it to advance our agricultural production without degrading environmental quality. ...
... The complexity of the soil concept-including humanistic and inclusionary meanings, as well as chauvinistic and exclusionary ("blood and soil") meanings-is inherent to the philosophy of organic farming. The relationships between soil and social health received special political attention early on, with the writings of botanist Albert Howard (1947), who pointed to connections between soil fertility and national resilience. Thus, the interlacing of organic agriculture and parochialism (religiosity and right-wing nationalism) is not new, and certainly not unique to the Israeli/Palestinian case. ...
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In settler colonial settings, agriculture is a means of reclaiming territorial sovereignty and indigenous identity. Turning attention to the Jewish settlers in the West Bank and their multiple uses and abuses of organic farming, this article explores epistemic and political spatial operations on the colonial frontier. Applying a relational conceptualization of three spatial modalities—soil, territory, and land—we explore the ways in which these modalities serve as political apparatuses: Soil designates the romantic perception of cultivable space, territory is concerned with borders and political sovereignty, and land is seen as a space of economic value and as a means of production. While agriculture is a well-known instrument of expansion and dispossession, organic farming contributes to the colonial operation by binding together affective attachment to the place, and new economic singularity in relation to environmental and ethical claims. We argue that organic farming practices converge claims for local authenticity, spatial appropriation, and high economic values that are embedded in what we term the colonial quality turn. Ultimately, organic farming in the West Bank normalizes the inherent violence of the colonial project and strengthens the settlers’ claim for political privilege.
... Voisin (1959) linked cancer to soil health. In British India, Howard (1940Howard ( , 1947 linked human health to soil health. Being a pioneer in organic agriculture, Sir Albert's work was contemporary to that of Lady Balfour (1943) and that of Rodale (1945). ...
Article
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Soil, a natural four-dimensional body at the atmosphere–lithosphere interface, is organic-carbon-mediated realm in which solid, liquid, and gaseous phases interact at a range of scales and generate numerous ecosystem goods and services. Soil organic carbon (SOC) strongly impacts soil quality, functionality and health. Terms soil quality and soil health should not be used interchangeable. Soil quality is related to what it does (functions), whereas soil health treats soil as a living biological entity that affects plant health. Through plant growth, soil health is also connected with the health of animals, humans, and ecosystems within its domain. Through supply of macro- and micronutrients, soil health, mediated by SOC dynamics is a strong determinant of global food and nutritional security. Soil C pool consists of two related but distinct components: SOC and soil inorganic C (SIC). The SIC pool comprises of primary and secondary carbonates, and the latter consists of calcitic (no net sequestration of atmospheric CO2) and silicatic (net sequestration). While SOC is highly dynamic, its mean residence time depends on the degree of protection (physical, chemical, biological, and ecological) within the soil matrix. Formation of stable microaggregates and of organo–mineral complexes can protect SOC against microbial processes for millennia. In addition to formation of silicatic type of secondary carbonates, leaching of bicarbonates into the subsoil or shallow water table is also an important mechanism of sequestration of CO2 as SIC. Numerous soil functions and ecosystem services depend on SOC and its dynamics. Improvements in soil health, along with increase in availability of water and nutrients, increases soil's resilience against extreme climate events (e.g., drought, heat wave) and imparts disease-suppressive attributes. Enhancing and sustaining soil health is also pertinent to advancing Sustainable Development Goals of the U.N. such as alleviating poverty, reducing hunger, improving health, and promoting economic development.
... Over the past 3 decades, efforts to address critical soil issues and make decision-makers aware of their societal importance have very often involved the concept of 'soil quality', and in the last decade, increasingly that of 'soil health'. This latter term arguably draws much of its appeal from a close connection between soils and animal or human health (e.g., Oliver & Gregory, 2015), which various authors, like Howard (1945) and Voisin (1959), identified a long time ago. While the use of these terms has become steadily more common outside the scientific community, soil scientists have consistently struggled in practice with their definition and quantitative assessment. ...
Article
Lehmann et al. (2020) recently published an article in which they propose a review of the very topical notion of soil health and of its practical significance for soil management. Unfortunately, the journal in which this review appeared does not accept comments or letters to the editor, thereby depriving the scientific community of the opportunity to debate in a timely manner some of the startling conclusions the authors reached, which arguably run the risk of encouraging researchers to venture down a very slippery slope. A commentary on Lehmann et al. (2020) is offered here, in the hope that it will lead to a constructive discussion about some of the limitations of the concept of soil health, and about how to proceed to come up with an alternative approach that would be more directly useful in terms of soil management.
... Soil quality and soil health, have been used frequently and interchangeably within the scientific literature. Initially, soil health was considered in relation to organic agriculture (Howard, 1947), but since the early 1990s and the seminal work by Doran and Zeiss (2000), soil health has been thought of as 'the continued capacity of a soil to function as a vital living system'. Soil health is broader, covering multiple soil functions with greater emphasis on the whole soil ecosystem, as a changing interlinked network. ...
Chapter
This chapter provides examples of the impact of soil fauna on soil health within different ecosystems and how the soil habitat changes in relation to this biodiversity. It focuses specifically on mesofauna in agriculture, grasslands, woodlands and as bioindicators, before concluding with an overview of how the development of mesofauna as bioindicators is important in establishing a healthy soil.
... FAO'nun (Birleşmiş Milletler Gıda ve Tarım Örgütü) (2020) dünya toprak yılı için yaptığı yayında da toprağın canlı ve düşündüğümüzden çok daha fazla fonksiyonu olduğu belirtilmiştir. Toprak, sağlıklı gıdanın kaynağıdır (Brevik, 2010;Howard, 2006). Bitkilere olduğu gibi tüm diğer canlılara ev sahipliği yapar (Karaca ve Turgay, 2012). ...
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Özet: Toprak, her gün üzerine bastığımız, barınma, besin, temiz su gibi temel ihtiyaçlarımızı sağlamanın yanında hayatımızda var olan her nesnenin bir şekilde ihtiyaç duyduğu doğal varlıktır. Toprak, fen bilimleri, coğrafya, sanat, matematik, yaşam becerileri, mühendislik ve edebiyat alanlarının her biri ile ilişkilendirilebilecek disiplinlerarası bir kavramdır. Öğretim programları incelendiğinde farklı disiplinlerde toprak konusunda kazanımlar olduğu görülse de ayrıca toprak ile ilgili etkinliklerin yer almadığı göze çarpmaktadır. Bu çalışma Cornell'in öğrenme akışı ders tasarımına uygun olarak dört basamaklı tasarlanan etkinlikleri içermektedir. Etkinlikte 7. sınıf öğrencileri ile toprak, kağıt, kalem, küp şeklinde karton kutular kullanılarak küçük grup çalışmaları yapılmıştır. Hazırlanan etkinlikler ortaokul ve lise öğrencileri, öğretmen adayları ve öğretmenler olmak üzere farklı gruplara uygulanabilir. Etkinlik sonunda toprak farkındalığının artması, toprak konusunda merak uyandırılması beklenmektedir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Toprak, öğrenme akışı ders tasarımı, çevre eğitimi Giriş Toprak canlılar için vazgeçilmez bir varlıktır. Her varlık toprak ile etkileşimde bulunur. Çoğu insan toprağı cansız olarak düşünmektedir. Ancak toprak, içerdiği mikroorganizmalar sayesinde karmaşık yapıya sahip bir ekosistemdir ve sağlıklı olması için, mikroorganizmalara sahip olması, hava ve su ile ilişkisini kurması gerekmektedir. Bu açıdan bakıldığında bilim insanları toprağın Güngör Cabbar, B. (2020). Bildiğin toprak! Öğrenme akışı ders tasarımı ile toprağa farklı disiplinlerden bakış. STEM Eğitimi Dergisi, 1(1), 47-65.
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Soil health is an old concept receiving renewed attention. Defined as a soil’s capacity to function, soil health is composed of physical, chemical, and biological attributes. The improvement and maintenance of soil health is considered a cornerstone of organic agriculture. Although there are numerous studies that compare organic systems with conventional systems, fewer studies compare organic systems with each other to determine how best to improve soil health metrics. In this review, we focused on nine indicators of soil health (aggregate stability, water holding capacity, infiltration/porosity, erosion/runoff, nutrient cycling, organic carbon, microbial biomass, macrofauna abundance, and weed seed bank). We found 153 peer-reviewed, published studies that measured these soil health indicators in two or more organic treatments. Overall, published research focused on four key practices: (1) cover crops, (2) organic amendments, (3) rotation diversity and length, and (4) tillage. Of these, 26 studies focused on cover crops, 77 on organic amendments, 32 on crop rotations, 40 on tillage, and 22 included more than one practice. Eighty percent of the studies were conducted in the USA and Europe. We found strong agreement in the literature that roll-killed cover crops suppressed weeds better than disking and that weed suppression required high levels of cover crop biomass. Combinations of organic amendments such as composts, manures, and vermicomposts improved soil health metrics compared to when applied alone. Including a perennial crop, like alfalfa, consistently improved soil carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and aggregate stability. Soil health metrics were improved under shallow, non-inversion tillage strategies compared with conventional tillage. Despite their importance for climate change mitigation and adaptation, the effect of practices on aggregate stability and water dynamics were under-studied compared with other soil health metrics. There is a great deal of variety and nuance to organic systems, and future research should focus on how to optimize practices within organic systems to improve and maintain soil health.
Chapter
Chemical pesticides are among the most important barriers to sustainability in agriculture. Their numerous disadvantages for the environment and living organisms, as well as the food cycle, pushed developed societies to eliminate or reduce pesticides application. Meanwhile, consumers, due to the health problems, have changed their approach to safe and pesticide-free food products. However, in developing countries such as Iran, the lack of knowledge and awareness of safer food products is one of the main reasons for the lack of organized market for such products. In this study, which was conducted in 2010 among 394 consumers from Marand City (Iran), we tried to examine consumers’ awareness of pesticide-free fruits and vegetables and its determinants using ordered probit model. Data were collected through the field study and the questionnaire. According to the results, only 20% of the respondents have appropriate information about the features of pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, and about 24% have low information or lack of awareness. Estimation results show that factors such as educational level, positive environmental tendencies and adherence to healthy lifestyle index among individuals, as well as having children under the age of ten or people with specific diseases in the household have a positive and significant impact on awareness of pesticide-free fruits and vegetables. In this context, female respondents’ awareness was more than males. In this respect, appropriate advertising, conducting training courses for all levels of education, raising community awareness of sustainability issues and safer products besides environmental and a healthy lifestyle issues are suggested.
Article
Organic farming activists have promoted the idea that ancient peasant wisdom informed the basic principles or Albert Howard’s Indore method, and of organic farming generally. The myth of the peasant origins of organic farming has influenced environmental activists and historians alike and concealed the remarkable contributions of Albert Howard and his first and second wives, Gabrielle and Louise Howard. A few statements made by Howard himself, and by his second wife, Louise, inspired the myth of peasant origins of organic wisdom. But a closer look at the published and unpublished writings of the Howards show that the formulation of the Indore method, which lies at the heart of organic farming, is a strict scientific protocol with its roots in the scientific work of Albert Howard and his cohorts.
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How can we feed China? This continual question intersects the human, social, and economic problems that China has confronted for at least over a century. This project stems from my intellectual and activist concern to reimagine our food future in terms of the challenge of feeding the people and caring for the agricultural environment in China. Agriculture, which includes peasants, villages and the land, has been an enduring material and theoretical subject for the Chinese communist agrarian revolution and transformation. Drawing on Chen Kuan-hsing’s Asia as Method (2010), I analyse farming as an evolving social and historical-material practice. This entails a decolonial contextualization in rethinking Chinese modernisation. I propose the concept of farming as method to analyse the shifting conjuncture of food production and consumption within specific historical, social and material conditions—namely from socialist to reformist China. I ground this with empirical data collected during my ethnography of food activism in the Guangdong area. My thesis is structured by three major moments. First, for the Maoist “long collectivisation” (1950s–70s), I analyse what I call the “socialist toilet system,” which transformed the ancient practice of recycling human waste into the Maoist mass movement bringing together agricultural productivity and public hygiene. I argue that this provides a metabolic account for understanding the shifting condition of local and geopolitics under the Cold War to demonstrate how food and agriculture became an ideological battlefield. Second, I show that the movement of agrarian renaissance in South China countered the reformist development, which resulted in pressing food issues such as the decline of farming labour, widespread environmental pollution, and food insecurity. These attempts for revitalising “traditional” farming knowledge becomes a cultural method for rural advocacy and later for food activism of community-supported agriculture (CSA) to consider peasants’ Mao-era experience, grain production and collective need. Third, I investigate a participatory method for forming producer-consumer connections in response to the recurring food scares in China, which highlights a rural-urban nexus fueled by the convivial actions of consumers. I focus on the articulation of a “convivial technique,” a participatory method that recognises and negotiates responsibilities among different actors caring for the agricultural commons. I conclude that farming as method provides a historically grounded, socially engaged, and ecologically concerned approach to think about our food present and future.
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This is the e-souviner of the National workshop on skill based entomology held from 27-29 Jan, 2020 at University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. The souviner consists of protocols and invited talk delivered by eminent scientists and researchers.
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The current and projected anthropogenic global warming and the attendant increase in the severity and extent of soil degradation may exacerbate the intensity and duration of drought occurrence in agroecosystems. Restoration of the soil organic matter (SOM) content of degraded/depleted soils can increase soil water retention (SWR) more at field capacity (FC) than that at the permanent wilting point (PWP), and thus increase the plant available water capacity (PAWC). The magnitude of increase in PAWC may depend on soil texture and the initial SOM content. Thus, restoration of the SOM content of degraded/depleted soils can make them as well as agroecosystems climate‐resilient. Management practices which enhance soil health by restoring SOM content include conservation agriculture, cover cropping, residue mulching, and complex farming systems involving integration of crops with trees and livestock. Such technologies must be fine‐tuned under site‐specific conditions. Additional research is needed to establish the cause‐effect relationship between increase in SOM content and PAWC and the ameliorative effect on drought‐resilience for diverse crops and cropping systems. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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This article is based on an action research that has been trying to optimize the five key factors of sustainable agricultural system in a one-hectare farm in a semi-arid, urban setting in India. The five factors for optimization include moisture, soil, seed, diversity and ecology. The experiments adopts in-situ water conservation for moisture management, on farm biomass, cow dung and cow urine based microbial rich water for soil health improvement, genetically stable indigenous seeds of respective climate zone, diverse field crops and fruit trees to meet nutritional needs of 12 families through cereal, pulses, root crops, oilseeds, vegetables, spices, fruits, honey, milk etc. The results on water conservation, soil health improvement, crop yield, milk production, and diversity have significantly improved and the forest system around the farm is also looking to stabilize. As compared to the control plot, water holding capacity of the experimental farm increased by eight times within a period of one year. Accordingly, the farm could trap nearly 80% of 100,000 litres of water per hectare for every 1 cm rainfall. Organic carbon of soil in the experimental plot was observed to increase by 50% within the first eight months of action research. The yield of pulses was 2.5 times that of national average yield; vegetables and root crops yield increased by about 2 times, Nutritional quality of the food items were high and customer demand for this farm produce has been growing. The gross income in year 1 of the experiment was INR 198,000 and it expected to reach INR 350,000 in the second year.
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The article evaluates the extent to which estate garden allotments in the Federated Malay States (FMS) contributed to the socioeconomic development of Tamil labourers from the opening of the 20 th century until 1941. By the late nineteenth century, the British government had initiated an immigrant agriculture policy in response to the need of preserving sufficient labour force to service the industrial economy. The extensive development of rubber industry from the early twentieth century, however, led to the permanent revocation of the policy, considering extensive immigration of large numbers of Tamil labourers was guaranteed through the Tamil (later, Indian) Immigration Fund Ordinance. Nevertheless, the policy did resurface from time to time during periods of economic recession following the First World War from 1917 and the Great Depression in the 1930s. It was when industrial slowdown compelled the British administration and rubber capitalists to preserve as many labourers as possible. The strategy was to induce them in undertaking allotment farming, which was embodied in the 1928 Labour Code. This article serves a twofold purpose. First, to analyze the extent to which the allotments on selected estates were able to alleviate the socioeconomic problems of the Tamils and; secondly, to evaluate the possibility of their transforming into agriculturalists and small-scale food vendors. The final part highlights allotment units, foodstuff cultivation and livestock farming as essential ingredients required for the socioeconomic functioning of estate agricultural allotments.
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This book purports to be a global history of organic farming but it is really a homage to the British expat botanist Alfred Howard (1873-1947). A scholarly work on the global history of organic farming would be welcome, but this is not that book. A scholarly work on the life and times of Alfred Howard would be welcome, but this is not that book either. The author writes of Howard “gaining his PhD from Cambridge University”. This is incorrect. Howard graduated with a BA from Cambridge University in 1899. He did not write a dissertation. He claimed an MA because BA graduates of Cambridge are entitled to an MA after the lapse of some years after matriculation, without any further study.In the Bibliography, Barton incorrectly cites: “Howard, Albert. The Waste Products of Agriculture: Their Utilization as Humus. Oxford, 1931”. There is a co-author of this book, Yeshwant D. Wad. In the Bibliography, Barton cites a non-existent title: “Howard, Albert. The Soil and Health: A Study of Organic Agriculture. London, 1947”. Howard wrote a book, Farming and Gardening for Health or Disease (1945). This was rebadged in USA as: The Soil and Health: Farming and Gardening for Health or Disease (1947). Much more recently, it was republished with the misleading title: The Soil and Health: A Study of Organic Agriculture (2006). The reader will search with but little success for any mention in the text of ‘organic farming’ or ‘organic agriculture’. The book, like the earlier Waste Products book, champions the so-called ‘Indore Method’ of composting. Barton fails to establish that this method is in any way different to the Chinese method described in detail by King (1911), nor to the traditional composting methods of many countries across many centuries.It was Dr Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) who first called for a differentiated agriculture which rejected synthetic chemicals. Barton writes of “a series of lectures given in 1924 to a group of farmers in Koberwitz, Westphalia”. Barton incorrectly places Koberwitz (now Kobierzyce, Poland) in Westphalia, near the Netherlands border, rather than in the completely opposite direction, in Silesia. Barton claims that “Steiner never trained … as a scientist”. This is also incorrect. Rudolf Steiner studied mathematics and sciences at the prestigious Vienna University of Technology (Technische Universität Wien; TU Wien) from 1879 to 1883 before taking a PhD at the University of Rostock in 1891). Steiner died within 12 months of his Agriculture Course (1924) and it was Dr Ehrenfried Pfeiffer (1899-1961) who spent decades meticulously testing biodynamic and organic farming methods. Barton pejoratively dismisses Ehrenfried Pfeiffer as a “propogandizer” (p.43). Barton claims: “Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. Though his followers refer to him as a scientist, he had no scientific training” (p.43). This is incorrect. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer studied science at the University of Basle (Universität Basel) from 1920 to 1925 and gained a Master’s degree in chemistry. Barton writes of “Pfeiffer’s book Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening … published in 1938 and… translated into German”. This is a ludicrous statement given that Pfeiffer’s first language was German, that his book was written and published in German, and the first English edition prominently states on the title page: “Translated from the German by Fred Heckel”. Pfeiffer was a generous and valued informant of many, including Rachel Carson when she was writing Silent Spring. This book is not what the title purports it to be. In addition, it is riddled with errors, some of omission, some of commission. As for Albert Howard, he was, in his later life, a champion of composting, but composting is not a metonym for organic farming.
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India today is at a point where it faces two forms of impending crises- a growing population and its need for a diverse and nutritious diet, and secondly, the rising indebtedness among its distressed farmers- an issue which has led nearly 8000 farmers to commit suicide in 2016. Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) counters the undergoing narrative by promoting localised farm inputs and eliminating outside resources. This practice not only reduces farmers’ reliance on credit and labour but also harnesses a new form of ‘Rural-Economy’. I look at whether ZBNF is the way to go forward by comparing both systemic and economic problems in the traditional farms and ZBNF farms.
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