Sunday, July 17, 2011

Organic Farming in Korea

In the Catholic Times' "Window of the Ark" column, the  writer gives us something to think about for Farmers Day this Sunday. The Korean Catholic liturgical calendar pays tribute on this day to all the farmers of the world. Noah, according to the account in Genesis, after the flood was the first to  plant a grape vine. It was then a different type of farming from what we have now. And our columnist would like us to return to this environmentally friendly farming.

The ecological world thrives on balance among the various ecosystems, which is the natural state. Humans are the only ones that can break this harmony of  the environment. We can see much of the pollution that harms our environment, but when it comes to the pollution of the soil it takes a longer time for us to become conscious of what is happening. When we realize life that exists in the soil is 10 times greater than what we can see, we quickly appreciate its importance.

What Korea produces from its organic farming is less than 1 percent of the country's total food production. In Austria, it's 12 percent and in Germany 10 percent. When it  comes to raising livestock, farmers not using antibiotics would be under 1 percent. And about 90 percent of livestock manure does not go through a process of aging but is used fresh on the soil as compost. While this may seem that organic matter is being used, that is not the case. In reality, antibiotics, vaccines, growth promoting hormones, feed additives, and germicidal agents--all being excreted along with the fecal matter--are being spread on the soil.

Up until now, those using small amounts of pesticides, though otherwise farming organically, were considered organic farmers; this will change beginning in 2015 when there will be a strict understanding of organic farming.  During the last 10 years, organic vegetables  have grown 20 times from what was produced in 2001.  However, it must be acknowledged that inferior organic matter can be used as a fertilizer, and this can be harmful to those who eat the vegetables. The government will continue to help farmers who use environmentally friendly methods of farming.

For this change to take place as quickly and efficiently as possible, the city and the rural communities will have to come together and communicate their needs and intentions. Consumers and suppliers must have a common goal if we are to return to the way of farming of Noah and his descendants. The columnist would like to see our Christians take an active role as catalysts in bringing about this change. 

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