Become Skilled in Modern Farming Practices - Alternative Farming course studying organics, permaculture and sustainability
Traditional farming practices have often left a legacy of damaged land through non-sustainable practices. This course is aimed at people who wish to farm in ways that ensure land retains is usability through wise use of resources.
- Get ahead of the rest by planning for the future and making a difference.
- Calling on innovative leaders who are prepared to meet the challenges of world-wide environmental degradation caused by broad-acre, chemical-based farming practices.
Alternative Agriculture qualification. Study by distance learning. Start today.
Agriculture today is a highly competitive, global market. Many traditional forms of agriculture are becoming more difficult to operate competitively, particularly within developed countries. Even in the most competitive economies, some agricultural enterprises still remain not only viable, but highly profitable. Success may be gained by value adding, or perhaps by filling a market niche not able to be readily filled by international or mass market competition.
This is course provides a solid foundation for people wishing to work in alternative areas of agriculture at a technician or management level; in positions such as a farm manager, technical representatives, trainers or consultants.
The looming food crisis has been created in part by energy-consuming, broad-acre systems that rely heavily on chemical inputs. These systems are environmentally destructive and need to be urgently dismantled and replaced by healthy, environmentally sustainable, alternative farming systems.
Note that each module in the Qualification - Advanced Certificate in Alternative Agriculture is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
Definitions of Organic Growing
Organic gardening and farming has been given a variety of names over the years - biological farming, sustainable agriculture, alternative agriculture, to name a few. Definitions of what is and isn't 'organic' are also extremely varied. Some of the most important features of organic production, as recognised by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), include:
- Promoting existing biological cycles, from micro-organisms in the soil, to the plants and animals living on the soil.
- Maintaining the environmental resources locally, using them carefully and efficiently and re-using materials as much as possible.
- Not relying heavily on external resources on a continuous basis.
- Minimizing any pollution both on-site and leaving the site.
- Maintaining the genetic diversity of the area.
Practices which are typical for organic systems are composting, inter-cropping, crop rotation, fallowing, mechanical, hand weeding or heat-based weed control, green manure crops and the use of legumes to increase soil fertility. Pests and diseases are tackled with environmentally acceptable, sprays that have little environmental impact and biological controls (e.g. predatory mites). Organic gardeners should avoid the use of inorganic (soluble) fertilisers, super-phosphate for example should not be used because it contains sulphuric acid, rock phosphate however is the acceptable alternative. Synthetic chemical herbicides, growth hormones and pesticides should also be avoided.
One of the foundations of organic gardening and farming, linking many other principles together, is composting. By combining different materials, balancing carbon and nitrogen levels, coarse and fine ingredients, bacteria and worms act to break down the waste products. Composting produces a valuable fertiliser that can be returned to improve the soil. Natural biological cycles are promoted, 'wastes' are re-used and the need for external supplies of fertiliser are reduced or cut altogether.
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