Most farmers in Borneo use “slash-and-burn” methods of agriculture: they clear new forest land each year to plant their crops, burning the trees and brush to fertilize the soil. While this method may have worked when population density was low enough to allow forests to regenerate in the many years between cycles, it is no longer sustainable. With today’s population density, those forests are in danger — fragile and disappearing.
Health In Harmony’s Project ASRI partners with and educates local farmers. With training in organic farming, farmers learn how to improve soil quality over time, renewing their commitment to protecting the forest. Instead of abandoning plots after a few years, relying on expensive fertilizers, farmers learn how to manage their farms sustainably — and far more productively.
ASRI training programs emphasize inexpensive, local ingredients to improve the soil. ASRI now assists six new community organic farms in villages around the rainforest — farms that serve as demonstration farms for their neighbors.
These farms have created a market for manure, a key ingredient for the organic compost that keeps soils fertile year after year. The demand for manure prompted ASRI to launch its Goats-for-Widows program. And there are some powerful success stories. One farmer nets $9000 annually by selling his organic produce in the nearest city. Another farming group, empowered by their work with ASRI, petitioned the local government for a cow to produce manure for organic compost; the government provided 22 cows — enough to supply manure for a second community farm!
Organic farming provides triple benefits:
- healthier people
- healthier forest
- more income for the very poor
Support Health In Harmony’s 2012 Organic Farm Training with a gift of $500. Donate today.