The effects of unsustainable agriculture were initially identified in industrialised farming, once believed to be a fantastic way to produce vast amounts of food at a reasonable cost. Yet, as the UN Environment Programme highlighted in 2019, ‘Unsustainable agriculture can pollute water, air and soil; is a source of greenhouse gases, and destroys wildlife […] that costs economies about $3 trillion every year.’ Population growth, however, leads to increased food demand. For small farmers, this often means to produce more food on less land, paying special attention to the ways in which soil can stay healthy, crops are protected, and production is boosted. Achieving profitable yields and meeting market demand while taking care of environmental issues is challenging. How to be a good green farmer?
Green farming involves the adoption of methods that promote ecological balance, conserve resources, and reduce environmental impact.
If you would like to turn your business into a sustainable farm (or to start a new one), the first thing to do is assessing all ‘the physical characteristics of your property, from its topography and climate to its soil composition and accessibility to water sources’ (R. Chomsky, 2023). The outcome of this assessment will fully inform you about the natural resources you can use and what crops can be better grown with minimal environmental impact.
Soil values and components are particularly important at this stage. You can easily obtain relevant data using sensor-equipped devices that will record and transmit accurate temperature, pH and soil values to your phone or tablet. Farmer Charlie is a cost-effective solution to achieve that.
Based on the initial assessment, you will be able to decide what crops you could grow, how much and which pesticides to apply, how and how often to water your plants. Pay attention to the ecosystem in your land, too, as some natural pest controllers like owls, bats and snakes can reduce the need for synthetic pesticides, which are notoriously toxic for the environment.
Biodiversity and crop rotation are two more elements to consider when establishing a green farm. A diverse farm ecosystem is more resilient to pests, diseases, and climate shocks. Crop rotation helps prevent soil degradation.
Water conservation is another crucial component of green farming. Implementation of efficient irrigation systems and water conservation practices − like drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting − paired with data from soil moisture sensors can help optimise water usage and further reduce the environmental impact of farming.
Do not forget the importance of waste management. You can implement a composting system to recycle organic waste from the farm. Compost enriches the soil, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, and reduces waste that would otherwise contribute to environmental pollution.
Using solar power is another effective contribution into green strategies that will make your farm even “greener” – not to mention the savings it brings if compared to traditional energy costs.
A last step on the path to building a sustainable farm is integrating into the local community and education initiatives. A sustainable farm is part of a larger community. Therefore, establishing connections with local markets will reduce the carbon footprint due to transport to faraway places and bring fresh, eco-friendly products to consumers, with obvious benefits to both the environment and the community.
Education helps promoting sustainable farming practices and building a network of environmentally conscious growers. Share your knowledge and experiences with fellow farmers, local communities, and consumers to promote green initiatives and increase the value of your fresh, healthy, and eco-friendly food.
Becoming a green farmer requires a holistic commitment to sustainable practices that benefit the environment, the community, and the farm itself. Farmer Charlie team help growers to turn their business into a sustainable farm. If you need support or information about our solution, drop us an email – email@example.com.
- Marina Novokhatska