Natural Farming

Natural Farming is a term I prefer to Organinc Farming. Both are open to interpretation, however. Organic farming has become a profit-driven method that is causing the approach to degrade. Many approved Organic practices are not healthy to the Earth or its people and critters any more. 

I ask myself, why do I use hand tools instead of rototillers, motorized mowers, or chemicals, whether termed "organic" or not? I ask myself this when I am not quite keeping up with the thistle or burrs, when my arms are aching from shoveling, when I lose half of somethings I am growing to insects or voles or whatever other wild element I am unprotected from. The answer I come up with, sometimes with resistance in part of me, is, It keeps me even with nature. It is a fair fight! Not that I view my farming as a battle with nature in general, but there are definitely sometimes some aspects of that when you get down to it. I am continuously "battling" several varieties of plants I don't want--i.e. so called weeds. I am battling the rodents with my fearless team of hunters, the cats. But it is a natural struggle, and an even one, practiced in all of nature in its shaping of ecosystems, and shaping of organisms through selection. When I do what I can by hand and barely keep up I am keeping a place in my little world for the snakes, the praying mantises, the wasps and the bees. The system begins to work for me. Pests become balanced out by their predators and competitors. Now that I have been doing this for a few years I am seeing the results and it is heartening.

I also have become sensitive to the fact that there is a cost to everything. No matter what. You never get something for nothing. The cost may be payed right up front, or it may get passed down a generation or two, or it may be payed by other innocents. But there will be a cost. The cost of what I get in natural farming I am paying for with my own labors, with my composting, with my mulching, with everything I put into it. I am paying up front as much as I can. The cost for a motorized lawn mower is way more expensive than most folks realize. Think of the metals, the labor, the shipping, the fossil fuels. The cost of using it, on the immediate environment, is also expensive: the destruction of predator's homes and food goes beyond their ability to recover. I acknowledge that it is very appropriate and still attuned to the philosophy I am expressing to use mowers and other motorized equipment-- especially on larger pieces of land--and still be able to help things in the constant flow to homeostasis.