Reflections on the Principles of Sustainable Agriculture

Today we are going to discuss about the principles of sustainability in agriculture. We have started new semester after coop term, but this time we all are aware about the broad spectrum of sustainable agriculture. In this blog, I will initiate the discussion by answering some questions.

An example of sustainable agriculture from coop.

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While working at Pfennigs Farm, i have clearly understood the principle of sustainable agriculture by following them practically. At pfennings, weeds are not removed by burning in order to prevent environmental pollution; instead weed removal is done with the use of machines as well as manually in areas where crops are too fragile or machines can not reach.

Another example of sustainability is the incorporation of water management system. At Pfennings, the crops were irrigated using rainwater. The crops are chosen according to weather conditions and a well planned irrigation system was used.

A comparison to previous understanding of sustainable agriculture

According to the knowledge gained during first semester, we considered sustainable agriculture as the production of plant or animal products using the farming techniques that have no bad effects on environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare. Working at the farm helped me to understand the sustainability principles practically.

Considering my previous knowledge about sustainable agriculture, the information received by working at Pfennings completely align to it. There was no use of fertilizers insecticides or pesticides to initiate plant growth or to remove weeds. All the processes were done according o the set standards of sustainability to produce organic crops. The irrigation system at farm is developed in a way to reduce water loss and maintain environmental stability.

The Pfenning farm produces organic products. In order to maintain the quality of the produce, it is mandatory to follow certain strategies. The strategies are developed to get better yield by avoiding use of fertilizers, pesticides or any other synthetic products. A proper strategy or technique is required to be followed in order to maintain quality as well keeping control of varying parameters.

I would definitely incorporate these strategies in my own farm in future. Also, the experience gained by working at Pfennings will be of great help in selecting equipment as well as proper management. Apart from this, keeping a track of weather conditions would also help me to choose suitable crops which will lead to better produce.

 

 

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COOP Completed 

Here I’m done with my coop at Pfennings Organics. It was the best time of my life. I have learned so many things here. I am from agricultural background though I have experienced new things and techniques here at the farm. One thing I have gained from the coop is the Team work. As we know that Unity is strength, similarly if we work in a team then we can easily handle and sort out any problem. I’m lucky that all the team members here were so nice and helpful. I felt very emotional while I left from the coop. Here I’m attaching some pictures with various teams 

My dirty clothes can clearly show the efforts and ambition I gave to Work at coop


We have seen unexpected growth in some vegetables. Here in the following picture, I’m showing the root length of the Red Beet. It’s root was around 1.5 feet long. 

Here comes the biggest radish I have ever seen. We weighed it at 10+ lb 


All the workers and staff were so kind to us so we thought to end this coop with a treat. Therefore we bring some Indian snacks and sweets for all the members of the farm. Everyone enjoyed this and thanked us. 
How can I forget the hero of the farm. Yes he is only one, our boss Wolfgang. He is most humble and hardworking person I have ever met. I have always learned something new from him and his way of explaining the situation and thing is priceless. He always supported us whenever we needed any help. He is very good in handling and operating machines and equipment. I have never seen him sitting free. He is really an inspiration for me. Here is the gentleman whom I’m talking about. 

Once again I want to thank everyone from the farm. Hope to visit the Pfennings Organic Farm soon. 

Moving towards end of the COOP 

Well it’s almost the end of our coop and the season is at its peak. Undoubtedly I have learned a lot in this period. From transplanting to harvesting , everything that I have done was so important and interesting. Our supervisors were so calm ; they explained us everything with great patience. Moreover , at this time they are very proud of our work. 

I have also got the knowledge about different equipments. Machines make the work better and faster. Our boss Wolfgang is very talented, he had designed so many equipments and machines for the work. 

The machine shown in the following pictures is used to transfer the product from trolley to the machine on which workers do grading of the product. 

The theory:- Practice makes a person perfect has become true in my case. I have performed all the operations at the farm, but mostly I have done packaging. I think that’s the reason why I became efficient and fast in packaging. Following pictures gives you a view of packaging of various vegetables 🥒 🥕🍀

Finally, we harvested carrots and started packing them. Carrot covered around 126 acres and all of us spent most of our time and efforts at carrots field. All were so excited about the production and we got good quality and quantity. 


Picture above saying it all. It takes so much effort and hard work to grow a crop , so everyone should respect and thanks a Farmer. 

It’s Harvesting time 

WoW! This month has been wonderful for harvesting. We did harvesting of so many crops such as Kale, Spinach, Peas, Red Beets, Lettuce and much more. Here are pictures of harvesting:- 

Our Spinach Harvesting Team is ready to go
The smile you get when you get to know that you get success

Joban wants to get the Red Beets out of the soil and let them see the sun ☀️
You become happy 😊 when both the weather and production is going good

You can clearly see in the picture below that how beautiful the nature is and why this Chard is named as Rainbow Chard 🌈 . Seriously it’s looks marvellous. 


Packaging- In this month we get to know about various details, precautions and application related to packaging. 

In the following pictures I’m packing Green Kale in boxes. The box contains 24 bunches of Green Kale and have to be covered with Ice to maintain the quality and freshness of the leaves. Hence the packaging is the joint effort and Keyur my classmate from Fleming College covering the Kale with Ice can be seen in the following pictures:-

Green Kale Chilling in the Ice

 Hoeing can’t be forgot. Hoeing was so intensive this month that it took almost double time to deal with weeds. As weeds were so long that the plants were totally covered up with them. So we had to pull out the weeds with hands and save the plants 🌱.

Hoeing team at expert level looking determined

Transplanting:- Transplants of Italian and Curly Parsley  are ready to go for transplanting. 


At the end, looking forward to learn more about different practices of Organic Agriculture. 

Experience of June Month

Finally June came out with so much work and experiences. We at Pfennings Organic Farm did different work operations in this month. Amazing part of Pfennings is that they grow carrots in around 126 acres and hoeing in carrot’s field is tricky one. You have to be so careful because once you loose your attention you might kill a carrot 😓. On the other hand, here you will find every vegetable. Pfennings grow chard, lettuce, onions, broccoli, peas, tomato, Spinach and many more of them. The best feeling is that when you find your work getting success. Similarly I felt great to see carrots 🥕 growing at a faster pace. Weather conditions were perfect for the crops and rain worked as a growth enhancer. I have captured some pictures of their growth which I want to share with all of you. In the following picture I have observed carrot’s growth in the starting of June and in the last week of the same month IMG_5775

I feel that Hoeing plays the basic and great role in the growth and development of the plants 🌱. Here is the picture before hoeing and after hoeing IMG_5772

Here is our hoeing teamIMG_5399

Besides hoeing we did so many things inside the warehouse. We did  cleaning and packaging of Spinach, coriander and green onions. Cleanliness is the primary step toward quality. You can’t maintain the quality without making the workplace hygiene and disinfected. At Pfennings there are disinfectants and sanitizers all around the workplace especially at the doors. So there is proper healthy and wholesomeness at our work. We are provided with aprons, gloves, beard nets while cleaning and packaging. Here is difference before cleaning and after cleaning Green Onions

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Green Onions before and after cleaning
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Packaging line of Green Oni

I also learned to check temperature of the harvested vegetables while packaging. In the following pictures I was checking the temperature of Cilantro (Coriander)

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We all know that if the workplace environment is good then you can do better work. We feel awesome to learn and work at Pfennings. Apart from work, we celebrated our Boss Wolfgang’s Birthday by Surprise cake 🎂

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Boss cutting Birthday cake 🎂

At the end of this month I will say that there is more to do and more to learn

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Beautiful vegetables

Hi all,

I hope you all doing good and enjoying your COOP. Well just because of rain our work got stopped for some days. On 8th May it was our Orientation day.

Next day we had off because field was wet  due to rain on weekend.

Finally from Wednesday we started doing work and harvest the Spinach that was planted last year. After cutting Spinach we cleaned it and made bunches. We learned the harvesting method and efficiency to do so.

In the above pictures we are doing cleaning of Spinach and making bunches of 400 gms.

I learned about different measures and precautions to be used at the workplace. Moreover I have learned how to maintain quality and quantity of the product.

After a long weekend, we started our work again on this Tuesday and started hoeing.

This is our so far journey.

Hope to see some sunshine in future.