COMMENTARY

Organic in India
This Indian organic farmer explores the parallels between ancient agricultural wisdom in his country and current methods of organic farming.

Posted January 27, 2005

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NF

Dear New Farm,

I am an organic farmer and always on the lookout for knowledge, prefering to be a student all my life. I restarted organic farming at our family farm in 1992 after a gap of 28 years. My father was a great organic farmer and staunch supporter of organic farming. He was a philosopher as well and predicted my path 15 years before I restarted the organic farming.

We at the farm are trying to farm according to Ayurvedic ways, which is also the basis for Biodynamic farming. It would be very interesting to go through ancient Indian ways of farming because the entire country of India has been divided according to the Panchang (celestial moments). All our festivals are held purely on the calculated effects of our galaxy, sun and moon. We have our native biodynamic calendar printed in every area for that specific region. We have different types of farming specified for all the areas. Anyone willing to explore this is most welcome to come and stay at our farm to conduct studies on this topic.

My findings are no different than any other observant and attentive organic farmer. I always try to study the Big Book (nature). Besides other findings, I have found that so- called weeds are our most beloved friends; we should respect them and their contribution to the ecosystem in totality. We should also observe them especially during the switch- over period. The weeds change with every passing year till the soil comes back to its original natural geographical level. In India we consume lots of weeds and know their medicinal properties as well: eg., ‘Chinopodium’. My second observation has been that in organic wheat, no Phalaris Minor [canary grass] is there. This weed has been a menace in India since the PL 480 days. Personally speaking, I have nothing against it, because I feel this weed takes most of the harmful poison away from our soil that has been brought in by the chemical fertilizers. My request to the scientists is to stop promoting fertilizers and start promoting farming. It is high time, and it is a shame that we have started testing our athletes for steroid but ignore our very Earth and atmosphere where they eat and breathe.

Regards,
Harpal Singh Grewal