Sustainable Farming Methods and Controlled Environment Agriculture – working together with Nature
May 25, 2023
There is so much talk around the idea of Sustainable Farming methods; glasshouse, ecological, organic, Ecoganic®, tunnels… but at the core, Sustainable Farming adheres to farming practices that are environmentally sound, socially responsible, and economically viable. The actions of eradicating or significantly reducing synthetic fertilisers, conserving soil health, ecological pest management and utilising biodiversity in agriculture produces the freshest and tastiest fruit and vegetables whilst caring for the environment where it’s grown.
Ecoganic® Farming – a focus on nature to support growth
The Ecoganic® farming method is an environmentally conscious and sustainable practice that embraces the natural ecosystem and strives to rejuvenate biodiversity. Ecoganic® is a scientific approach to farming that uses environmental management systems and sustainable production practices to reduce environmental footprints. Ecoganic® farming is farming with nature by utilising the natural ecosystem and not using harsh pesticides or chemicals that can impact the environment and food safety. This farming method has been used for over 25 years to grow Ecoganic® Red Tip® Bananas in an eco-friendly, sustainable and careful way by Australian farmers actively working alongside nature’s farmers - the insects, wildlife and other organisms.
Organic Farming – prioritising the health of the soil to grow food
On the other hand, a key component of organic farming relies on using organic matter such as compost and crop residues, to enrich the soil with essential nutrients and similarly omit the use of synthetic chemicals and fertilisers. The emphasises on the fertility and health of the soil as well as the surrounding biodiversity, such as conserving the surrounding waterways and using cover crops (plants planted to cover the soil rather than being harvested), aids in a healthy soil structure that prevents erosion and vital for plant root growth. According to the 2021 National Soil Strategy: 'up to 58% more food could be produced through sustainable soil management.'*
At Perfection Fresh we are working towards Sustainable Farming
We are constantly adapting and looking for ways to improve the production of the freshest and highest quality produce. The use of a controlled environment or protected cropping method such as using greenhouses, glasshouses, shade/tunnel houses or screen houses, makes it possible to consistently and reliably control or manipulate the growing environment, such as temperature, humidity, and light levels, and effectively manages nutrition, pests, and diseases in crops. And committing to sustainable farming methods means that in controlled environments, we can use a more efficient irrigation system that uses less water and reduces the use of pesticides. For example, 100% of the rainwater used to irrigate the Perfection Fresh Glasshouse in Two Wells S.A. is collected and harvested at the site.
Perfecting produce for the future
The benefits of Sustainable Farming methods in association with protected cropping are numerous. The use of protected structures helps to grow our fruit and vegetables year-round, allowing for consistent supply, even in adverse weather conditions and increases the quality of the produce. Minimising exposure to pests and disease decreases the need for pesticides and protected cropping has a lower environmental impact, which means by utilising sustainable practices in a controlled environment also means less waste and more healthy fruit and vegetables.
Reducing nasty pests in our berry tunnels
For example, we are committed to producing the most tasty and nutritious berries possible using a method called Integrated Pest Management. This ensures the farm managers at Perfection Fresh use the tools to ensure they use as little pesticide as possible, keeping a close eye on crops, and using electronic monitoring to track fruit fly activity. Plus, releasing beneficial (friendly) bugs that love to consume on harmful pests, and the use of organic insecticides when needed. By staying on top of things and knowing exactly what's going on across the farms, pests are closely monitored while operating sustainably. Your berry experience just got even better!
Next time, take a moment
Stop and think about where your fruits and vegetables are grown. We all know that eating plenty of fresh produce is an integral part of a healthy 5 vegetable and 2 fruit diet, but it's also essential to consider the source of our food for optimal health benefits, both for us and the health of the environment. At Perfection Fresh farms, you can be assured that our produce, grown sustainably, is the freshest and the best quality, it's how we work together to give you the best possible fruit and vegetables.