The role of earthworms in sustainable agriculture

By Jaswinder Singh

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Greek philosopher Aristotle described earthworms as the ‘intestines of the earth’. (Photo credit: USDA, Flickr)

Sustainable agriculture means the production of food from plants or animals using different agricultural techniques that protect communities, the environment, and animal welfare. The extensive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers to boost crop yields may have resulted in good yields and productivity, but it has caused the efficiency of the soil to deteriorate throughout the world day-by-day. This modern agricultural practice has caused a steep fall in the biodiversity (above and below the ground) associated with cropland ecosystems.

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The price of organic farming…prison time?

pinot gris grapes
Judges in France are now considering an appropriate punishment for one organic winemaker who has refused to spray his vines with pesticides. Without spraying, they say he could be contributing to further infestation of the leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus in the region. As the Guardian in the UK reports, Emmanuel Giboulot now faces a 6-month prison sentence and a €30,000 fine for failing to apply insecticide. His justification for refusing, he says, is that chemical measures are both ineffective at managing the pest, which can carry flavescence dorée disease,  and damaging to pollinating insects such as bees. Instead, he insists the disease can be managed by more natural means. Over 41,000 people have signed a petition in his defense.