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280 EpisodesProduced by mrjonmooreWebsite

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil.To feed the world, to clean the air and water, we need to change what we do with our soils.This podcast looks at the many variants of regenerative food growing. How? Why? When?We must be the ChangeUnderground!


52 #worldorganicnews 2017 02 20


WORLD ORGANIC NEWS in the Australian Podcast Awards Click here


The Push & Pull Technology – Foolish Family Farm



Rice – Duck – Azolla – Fish Cultivation: An Example of Sustainable Farming – Foolish Family Farm

The Azolla Foundation

Paying Off the Farm! Regenerative Agriculture.




This is the World Organic News for the week ending 20th of February 2017.

Jon Moore reporting!


This week the focus is upon creative thinking! Two posts from Foolish Family Farm on creative techniques based upon the observation of Nature get us started: The Push & Pull Technology and Rice – Duck – Azolla – Fish Cultivation: An Example of Sustainable Farming.


The Push-Pull Technology comes from sub-Saharan Africa. It uses plants to to create safe growing environments for cash crops.



Stemborers, parasitic striga weeds and poor soil fertility are the three main constraints to efficient production of cereals in SSA.

End quote.


Cereals here refers to maize production. Understanding the life cycles of both the stemborers and the striga weed is essential in creating a defense against them.


Long Quote:

The technology involves intercropping maize with a repellent plant, such as desmodium, and planting an attractive trap plant, such as Napier grass, as a border crop around this intercrop. Gravid stemborer females are repelled or deterred away from the target crop (push) by stimuli that mask host apparency while they are simultaneously attracted (pull) to the trap crop, leaving the target crop protected. Desmodium produces root exudates some of which stimulate the germination of striga seeds and others inhibit their growth after germination. This combination provides a novel means of in situ reduction of the striga seed bank in the soil through efficient suicidal germination even in the presence of graminaceous host plants.

End Quote.


The two part nature of this approach appeals to me. Not only are the pests driven away from the cash crop, they are given alternative target crops which keeps them occupied. This is quite simply working with Nature not against it. The alternative is to wear the losses these “pests” cause or to spray insecticides and herbicides with all their inherent dangers to both the health of the farm workers and to the soil microbiome.


This sort of solution is only possible with a thorough understanding of the biology of the crops, the insects and the weeds. It is a long term solution without the quite considerable annual cost of poisons. A win/win situation for local people and soils. A not so good solution for the shareholders of poison companies.


There are links to the both the post and the Push-Pull website in the show notes.


The next solution comes from East Asia. Dr Furono has solved a series of problems in organic rice production by combining rice with ducks, fish and a water borne cover crop.



The operations simultaneously raise Aigamo ducklings, loaches (a species of fish), rice and Azolla. The ducklings provide integrated pest management, replacing pesticides and herbicides by naturally controlling predaceous pest populations and digging up or eating competing weeds.


The loach and duck waste, combined with the nitrate fixing properties of Azolla, increase soil nutrition and maintain productivity levels that are comparable to conventional farming operations without the need for costly synthetic fertilizers. The Azolla plants can later be harvested for animal feed.

End Quote


Here we see through the lens of Permaculture, the concept of dual use. The fish and the ducks both eat pests and fertilise the paddys. The Azolla blocks the growth of unwanted plants and provides nitrogen fixing as well as proving cover crop and animal feed duties. Stacking these four species together creates an output greater than the sum of its parts. Again removing poisons from the system, allowing the earth to begin the process of cleaning herself through time. Healthier soil, healthier food, healthier people. What’s not to like?


A link to both the article and to the Azolla Foundation is in the show notes.


Now we come to the pointy end of regenerative agriculture where the theory and practice meets the reality of financing the whole thing.


Ridgedale Permaculture brings a series of video presentations but I will focus upon one: Paying Off the Farm! Regenerative Agriculture. This longish, by modern terms, video, 16 minutes, shows how the good folk at Ridgedale both financed their 10 ha, 25 acres and how they plan to be free and clear in five years. Barring droughts, floods, fires and pestilence they seem to be on a winner. They openly discuss their costings and income which is very generous of them. I would recommend you watch the entire video. It might just be the spark you need to make the leap into the organic farm you’ve always dreamt of.


A little forewarning! Next week will see the podcast as normal but the three following weeks I will be traveling through Ireland. I have a mobile recording setup so things should sound the same. Additionally I hope to speak with people who are getting their hands into the dirt of Ireland. I have a tentative booking with a beekeeper and another with a grower of tree based labyrinths. All in all I think I’ll have quite a bit of interesting content to share with you over then next few months. Not sure yet if these interviews will be added to the weekly podcast or published as supplements but they are coming so look out for them.


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


If you’ve liked what you heard, could please follow the link in the show notes and vote for World Organic News in the Australian Podcast Awards Click here Thanks in advance.


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


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





WORLD ORGANIC NEWS in the Australian Podcast Awards Click here


The Push & Pull Technology – Foolish Family Farm



Rice – Duck – Azolla – Fish Cultivation: An Example of Sustainable Farming – Foolish Family Farm

The Azolla Foundation

Paying Off the Farm! Regenerative Agriculture.

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