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  • Matthew & Kata

Intensive Vegetable Production Organically - An Oxymoron?

For the workshop on Intensive organic vegetable production we had two presentations: 1. Pecznyik Béla telling the story of his farm (Pecznyik Tanya Ökofarm), and Balamodaka from Krisna-völgy - two very different vegetable production systems (unfortunately Bolvári Csaba was ill and unable to bring his presentation). The two gardens presented illustrated well two different contemporary approaches to creating viable organic vegetable gardens - Balamodaka's garden being a great example of integrating a collection of specifically designed small-scale market gardening tools, to create a work-efficient garden with highly productive soils, based around a controlled composting system and green manures for building fertility, with Béla market garden by contrast an extremely well-managed much larger vegetable production based around sales to large supermarket chains, supplying certified organic produce in quantities at competative prices. The reality is that farming commercially requres that growers become highly efficient, which some people understand to require scaling-up and intensifying the use of inputs, whilst others try (but in a very challenging economic environment) to focus first on maximising biological life in the soil for fertility, and trading-down on quantity in order to establish a biologically-driven system with less need for external inputs. Both farms were excellent examples of their type. Do we have to accept higher environmental impacts in order to get the food in the quantity we want at prices we want, or is it possible to survive when putting soil life first?


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