Revitalising the land
Worldwide people working on the land and in agricultural has dropped from 44% in 1991 to 26% in 2020.
Many people don’t want to work on farms and use of technology has increased. But with this we have lost traditional knowledge systems on how to care for the land, resulting also in unsustainable migration from rural to urban areas.
To guarantee food security in 2050 the world needs more younger people to keep farming. The average age of people farming the land is 60, compared to many populations whose average age is in the 20s.
What you can do
Stop using farming and garden chemical pesticides
Industrial farming around the world has brought about dramatic increased in crop yields and fed a rapidly growing global population.
However, it has come at a cost since some practices have degraded the soil in many parts of the planet, particularly through use of chemical fertilisers, herbicides, and insecticides. These affect the natural balance of fungi, bacteria and other organisms living in the soil.
Unfortunately harmful agricultural techniques have shifted global cropping soil from a carbon sink to a carbon source released adding to the climate crisis.
What others have done
Scientists at the non profit, Rodale Institute Pennsylvania US, (Yichao Rui) conduct research into organic farming to see how fluids covered with plants all year maximize the amount of carbon that can be stored in the soil.
This would help to transfer the carbon gathered from the atmosphere by the plant to the soil where fungi feed on the carbon delivered by the roots and provide the plants with other nutrients in return. It is increasingly important to apply microbe rich compost to topsoil.
Regenerative farming techniques
A new generation of farmers are turning to traditional wisdom and once again nature’s own solution. The intention is for the soil and natural microorganisms to heal itself and eventually yield bountiful crops according to seasonal growth cycles.
“We’ve broken that system of life in the soil, there’s nothing holding our soil together”
Regenerative Farming Techniques…not disturbing the soil, involves avoiding excessive tilling to keep the soil structure and fungal communities in the soil intact. They also deploy other practices like cover crops and companion planting to store carbon back into the soil. Scientists are measuring the overall impact of storing carbon in the soil that these alternatve farming techniques may have over the long term.
Call for change
Call for change in fertilisers and pesticides.
In the beginning fertilisers boosted crop growth, but over the decades we have realised that excess fertilisers and pesticides have damged marine life, altered other habitats, and entered our food chain.
We also now know that synthetic fertilisers release potent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from the manufacturing process, which later also affects the fields.
New precision agriculture technology hopes to target precise amount of water and chemical treatment so as to avoid wastage. Techniques such as silica nanoparticles release fertiliser and pesticides at a slow steady rate, containing micro organisms to help restart soil regeneration.
Blue River Technology are gathering data and using AI, computer logarithms to send messages to recognize weed from healthy crop and decipher whether or not to spray the weed without damaging the crop. This would greatly reduce the $33bn spent worldwide on the use of herbicides each year.