An important question that we get asked a lot here is “why are natural fertilizers better than chemical fertilizers?” This is a fair question. Modern agriculture has managed to dramatically increase yields over the last 40 years in order feed a rapidly growing world population. Chemicals, from pesticides to fertilizers, have played an important role in this. We are now becoming aware, however, that these advancements have not come without significant costs.
The major environmental issue regarding the use of artificial fertilizers is runoff. When chemicals are put into the soil, they can easily wash away into waterways and wetlands, poisoning plant and animal life and damaging valuable ecosystems. While these consequences may be unintended, they are the direct result of pumping chemicals into our soil instead of investing in organic solutions that promote sustainable practices.
Additionally, the usage of artificial fertilizers tends to increase the exhaustion and erosion of top soil, one of the most valuable resources on our planet. Instead of engaging in natural fertilization processes such as composting and healthy practicing such as crop rotation, farmers are encouraged to use artificial fertilizers that result in an overabundance of nutrients to increase short-term yields but which tire out the soil and create new sources of fragility.
This is why we at the Rhode Island Worm Farmer Cooperative are so passionate about what we do. By promoting organic fertilization processes in the form of vermiculture, we hope to end harmful agricultural practices that destabilize and degrade our natural inheritance.