In this weekly Bio-intensive Agriculture Series, we’ll be looking specifically at the “why” question you need to answer before kick-starting organic agriculture. This is the most important question to ask oneself before venturing into bio-intensive agriculture. It also seeks to determine if you are going to have a garden or opt for a farm. This is the question one needs to sit down and critically answer. Why do I want to farm? Why do I want to start up a garden? Even if you have started farming already, you need to critically answer this question.
Deciphering the “why” question before starting up a bio-intensive farm or garden is also necessary for answering other questions such as the when, where, whom, and the how. This climaxes the importance of this question in setting up a bio-intensive farm.
These are some of the highlights on why people farm or garden:
Most individuals set up a garden for money (as a business). To these persons, they see gardening as a source of livelihood and income. This answers the why question. To such an individual, gardening is seen as a business and this determines his/her answer to the when, whom and how.
Also, the health factor may be the answer to the why question for an individual setting up a garden. This determines the focus in selecting essential ingredients due to health concerns or for a healthy lifestyle. To this end, the individual chooses what to produce in order to monitor the development of the crops based on the specific health need.
Furthermore, an individual may decide to venture into bio-intensive agriculture or own a garden or farm for relaxation, therapy, or exercise. This is entirely different from individuals who pick up farming for profit purposes or to boost a healthy lifestyle.
Another individual may choose to pick up farming or gardening as a hobby – something they just love to do. It is seen as an expression of art or an expression of love or something significant to them. They just love to be around nature and the green environment. Such individuals love to dig the soil, play around with plants, among other hobbies. This typically becomes something they love to do. To such a person, the answer to his/her “why” differs from the first three afore-mentioned.
Moving forward, most people also venture into bio-intensive agriculture to provide food for their families. The individuals, in this instance, want to farm to feed themselves and those around them. This will then lead to other significant questions, such as the when, where, how, etc.
There are other reasons why people farm or garden. However, I have just limited or compressed these factors to the afore-mentioned five. It is important for anyone to critically determine why he/she wants to venture into bio-intensive agriculture.
As earlier stated, it is very important to answer the “why” question because it helps to determine a lot of factors. For example, you will need to determine what you intend to use in the garden. If you choose to make a profit from it, then you will need to identify what crops, and the number of crops that should be cultivated. It is also the same for those who want to feed their families.
Secondly, the cultivation method varies. Your purpose for gardening will lead you to the method(s) you are going to adopt. For an individual venturing into gardening for business, his/her method will be different from someone who picks gardening or farming as a hobby. The equipment, tools or machinery that will be used are also determined by the objective for farming. Additionally, the land spaces and resources to be used for cultivation in each of the five categories are also different.
Answering the why question helps you plan and make projections on what you intend to achieve and the resources you are going to need – natural resources, financial resources, human resources, physical resources, time resources. These resources all have to be spelled out definitely, depending on why you want to farm or garden.
Whom are you doing it for? Who are the people who are going to help you – the human resources?
This is the location factor. Where are you going to locate your garden or your farm? For someone who is doing it for health reasons, it might be in an enclosed space or outside the house.
What method are you going to use? Are you going to put your plant in a sack or containers? For those considering gardening for health or hobby, this could be the focus. However, if the focus is on business, the scope will be different. Here, you are going to consider cultivating in hectares or plots.
How are you going to cultivate? Your planning comes in place here. Your planning is a factor in answering the why question. The why answer determines the plan that you put in place, the kind of system, and the paperwork you sign before gardening.
The keynote here is that once you can answer the why question, you will be able to answer the other questions correctly and plan effectively.
Next week, we will go into more gardening or farming details. Whether you are gardening or farming on a large expanse of land, there are basic principles in bio-intensive organic agriculture that must be met. These basic principles are very vital in this agricultural system. Once you have this information or understanding, then you can kick start and grow in this system of agriculture.
I hope to see you next week. Send in your questions, comment and feedback across and we will respond. Have a good day.
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