Holistic approach

Holistic Agriculture

In holistic agriculture, more accurately termed "holistic agro-culture", it is important to recognize, restore and support natural cycles and interrelationships: Trees, shrubs and hedges provide shelter from wind and sun and serve as nesting and breeding area for birds and small animals. Plants are able to build humus levels and rich soil life through the decay of plant material and the symbiosis between their roots and microorganisms. This process can be accelerated and optimized by the production and use of compost and compost tea and a crop rotation that, besides cash crops, includes soil building legumes and green manure, as well as flowering plants and herbs. In turn, this living soil can grow healthy plants which provide the basis for a healthy diet for animals and humans. Some animals we have been able to domesticate - especially ruminants (their dung is essential for good compost), poultry and bees. But wild animals are essential for holistic agriculture too and therefore must also be considered: small mammals such as hedgehogs, mice, etc., birds and various insects keep life in a fragile balance. Once the balance shifts and, for example, the lice multiply greatly, their natural enemies (predators) increase correspondingly and decimate them again.

Holistic agriculture has an aspect important for the environment: fertile soil can sequester carbon. That our soils are no longer alive is a major cause of global warming! In Egypt the SEKEM initiative for example has been working for 35 years according to the principles of holistic agriculture. To date, nearly 700 acres of desert has been made fertile by SEKEM alone.