Episode 24: Organic Farming, Raised Beds

This is the World Organic News Podcast for the week ending 11th of July 2016.

Jon Moore reporting!


Forty five years have passed since Earl Butz, then U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, asserted, “Before we go back to organic agriculture in this country, somebody must decide which 50 million Americans we are going to let starve or go hungry.” Time has proven Butz very wrong.

End quote.

That quote comes from the blog: A New Green World and their post: Can Organic Farming Feed the World?


As it turns out, organic farming can feed the world. It might also actually save the world. The practices of organic farming and gardening have one particular aspect which the oil and chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides farm practices do not. They capture carbon and store in the soil.

Organic farming does so much more from an environmental standpoint. Not only do they produce healthy food, they provide measureable sustainability returns. From bird habitat to pollination reserves for bees, butterflies and other insects providing this crucial service. 

The organic farm fits within the local environmental setting f=rather than forcing a production method upon the landscape. That being said, organic, small area farms provide more tree cover per unit area of land, better water retention, more diversity of crops, think of stacking here to get a better idea, and humane animal production systems.

Whilst we all can’t live on an organic farm, just yet, there are things we can do to help guide our local areas to more closely mimic the benefits those farms bring.

The blog catherinecontinued has a great post on DIY Raised Garden Beds –


The really great thing with this post is it’s from a self confessed “brown” thumb gardener who is still able to produce food by working with nature. The joys of raised beds are many: little weeding, better water flow and at the same time, water retention, and a harvest you’ve grown yourself. This post walks anyone through the necessary steps to setting up their own raised beds. But beware! This can become addictive!

The blog Action is Eloquence has a post on a different sort of raised bed. You could describe it as raised beds on steroids. I’m referring to keyhole gardening. And this post Keyhole Garden Update  does exactly what it says on the tin.

A keyhole garden is a circular raised bed garden this can be 12 inches high but they tend to be closer to hip height. Cut into the circle is a passageway allowing the gardener to walk to the middle on the circle without touching any on the garden soil. They truly are a thing of beauty. In this post, the garden is built up with besser bricks, sometimes called breeze blocks in other parts of the world. I’ve seen them built from logs, planks and dry stones walls.

They are things of beauty, efficiency and depth. Especially depth of soil. This is important. Not only is the soil deep, it’s still enough to develop fungal and other connections within the soil. And it is these interconnections within stable soils, topped up from the top with organic matter which represent to most stable and, arguably, productive ecosystems on the land. Think the Russian steppe, the plains of Africa, South and North America and the Australian rangelands. Whilst that scale is impossible in a garden the stability is greatly enhanced with the depth. So Check out the blog if the idea appeals to you. Link in the show notes.   


As I mentioned last week, the film What’s With Wheat? Will be screening in this part of the world on the 10th of August at the Glenbrook Cinema. Tickets will be available from the 3rd of August.  If you’re not in the area you can still book your own screening through the website. Link in the show notes. 


And that brings us to the end of this week’s podcast.

If you’ve liked what you heard, I’d really appreciate a review on iTunes. This helps others to find us. Thanks in advance!

Any suggestions, feedback or criticisms of the podcast or blog are most welcome. email me at podcast@worldorganicnews.com.

Thank you for listening and I’ll be back in a week

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