As I told you before, when I started growing lavender I decided on the spot that I wasn't going to use any herbicides to control the weeds, or artificial fertilizers to give plants a boost. But, I didn't know all that much about organic farming so I started looking around the might all web for resources.
It wasn't as hard as I expected. I even found an intensive course on organic farming that was taking place in my city. So I booked my spot. And I went completely unprepared for the huge amount of information I got.
The course had one-day modules for several areas of organic farming, including livestock, agriculture and procedures to obtain the organic product certification. It was so useful, I can't stress this enough.
If you have the opportunity to take a class on farming, do it. I got so much out of this. And it wasn't just the information I got from the teachers, it was the knowledge exchange with the other students. Hearing their stories, learning what challenges they're facing, what plans they have and how they plan to overcome their setbacks.
Here's some of the perks I got out of this organic farming course:
- Getting to interact with fellow farmers
- Asking experts for advice on best practices
- Learning what actually goes into organic farming
- How to prepare the terrain for organic agriculture
- How to collect seeds and how to store them properly
- How to store crops in an organic farm
- What kind of organic fertilizers or herbicides can be used in organic farming
- What is required from a product to be qualified as organic
- How to create a production line for organic products
- How to choose a consultant to help on an organic certification application
- What kind of financial help is provided by the UE and Romanian government for organic farmers
- What are the most common issues that organic farmers face in the marketplace, including selling the product
And I kept the best thing at the end. The last day of the course involved a visit in a well established organic farm near Bucharest. We actually got to see theory put in practice.
Truth is, organic farming isn't as glamorous as it sounds. One must truly be committed to adapt their lifestyle to accommodating a large and diverse farm. There's so much work that goes into keeping everything in check, going through all the maintenance work, and then working on developing a distribution network and keeping track of all the paperwork.
It's not an easy thing to do but I loved seeing that farm, listening to that farmer talking about his dream, his business and life. It reminded me of why I chose to grow organic. I believe we need to take care of our nature, do our best to nourish and help it heal, rather than destroy it for our egoistic short-term financial gain.