Soil is the most important element in making our food. Working in the soil is the most meaningful thing mankind could do to nourish and make their body strong.
So let’s simple break it down. Most of our food comes from some form of plants. So what makes it grow?
– Sun light
Sunlight is free of cost. Available in abundance. Just need to position your plants to make the best of it. Just respect the seasons and grow crops that can accept the harshness or mellowness during the year.
Water. Mineral rich water provided on a limited basis based on the crop. Just like you feed babies, more intervals in the beginning and then less often as they grow. Some need a nice rainforest environment to thrive and some need just some moisture after they fruit.
Energies. You can’t just plant a seed in soil, attach a machine to water and feed it and walk away and expect it to thrive. They need some TLC (tender love and care) too. Good energies. Your energies. Animal energies. Energies of the overall biodiversity and environment around them. And watch them thrive! No it’s not fufu logic here. It works. Trust me.
And finally Soil.
Not dirt. Not dead. Not nothing.
Means it’s everything 🙂
Soil is not just NPK + copper when needed + silica when needed + magnesium maybe. Only 5% of the microbes that exist in soil have been possibly discovered so far. Nourish the soil with some good compost that consists of – nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, alkaline elements, and some good beneficial herbs and preps. When animal manure makes the nitrogen element, you are adding a lot more beneficial microbes into the compost. Basically creating an environment to make the compost become a tasty recipe for the plants. It’s not the inputs, but it’s the final result that comes out that smells like earth that’s been freshly rained on.
Can be addictive trust me!
You can also add a lot of beneficial liquid manures or inoculants that improve soil quality. Choose what works best for you.
Improving soil quality is a must in organic farming. It’s not rocket science, just needs some perseverance and consistency.
We are so blessed to be in India with the beautiful variance in soils, lots of plant diversity, biodiversity, innumerable climates to grow and larger variety of crops and a large number of farmers who live in the rural setup. But the system is flawed. Sad but true. Centralization and industrialization along with economics messed up the whole equation. We want everything quick and accessible at our fingertips now. Including our fresh produce. Demand creates supply.
That’s where the urban artificial farms came into play. They are expensive technologies to setup, so they will aggressively market their produce. Only the ones who are privileged can make this setup in an urban environment, not an average farmer. That’s why they treat it a like a business. We know what happens when food and agriculture becomes a hard core business. Enough said on that.
Okay so now let’s go back to the elements that make plants –
*Sunlight – replaced with artificial lighting. It’s like asking me to get vitamin d sitting under a light.
*Water – mind you clean water, or water with fish excretions, which is not bad, but not sure how beneficial that alone can be.
*Energies – ahem! You saw the pictures. You see any biological activity there? You see pollination happening there? You see any happy lady bugs or animals there? Clean people with gloves and sanitization at its optimism. Wohooo! No pests or bacteria! Problem solved! Who wants to deal that?
*Soil – last and important one.
Here’s a description online – Hydroponics is the method and process of growing plants without using any soil. … As long as a plant receives an adequate amount of the required mineral nutrients that it needs in order to grow and thrive, then soil is not needed or necessary for gardening.” Some systems may use a soil mix with compost, peat and some minerals. Some use only fish excretions, and other aquaculture outputs. Some use rock wool in seedling trays.
Whenever nutrients are given in a water form, it’s unnatural to start with, because the plants don’t learn how to absorb nutrients from soil anymore.
Okay now take a person and give them lots of artificial food that requires them to survive. Give them a dose of pure protein, some pure carbs, add some essential multivitamins, all with water. Give them some rock wool blankets and artificial light for their short life span. They will grow and look like humans in a lab to some extent. That’s all they need, and it’s a successful project. Work done! You know what I mean now? Plants are also living elements, have feelings and have a purpose in life. Cherish them, nurture them, give them an opportunity to make some good for humankind in the way nature intends.
About the marketing terminologies they use for non soil based gardening, let’s try and understand them better –
~ Less adverse environmental impacts – Please! What about the carbon footprint they are creating by pumping in water and electricity into the units that need to run 24/7. And they call themselves eco friendly and organic, maybe because there’s no methane
~ Reduced consumption of resources – What resources are these now? Cause I only see additional byproducts being made to support this industry.
~ Faster plant growth – sure, cause everyone’s in a hurry to buy what you are selling.
~ Higher Yelids – but ofcourse, your mission is to save this world and feed it, not protect Mother Earth.
~ Clean food – That’s grown sanitized with gloves and masks – without the beneficial soil microbes? Well good luck with your gut health and overall immunity
To conclude, this is not complete food with the correct nutrition profile, please get the produce tested if you have the resources and prove us otherwise. I have had clients who tasted such produce and said it doesn’t taste as dense and their stomach didn’t agree. “There’s something missing” is what I constantly hear, now that’s your gut and human intelligence talking. Go figure!