First of all, let’s start with the first paradigm – describing the current status quo. In the vast majority of small local farms, we have what’s called a “poly crop” – a system where multiple types of plants are grown in the same area, mutually benefiting each other as well as the soil. It’s a great system that manages to sustain itself without the use of pesticides. For example, imagine a small backyard garden that a part-time professional grower takes care of. Let’s suppose it has fruit trees, sunflowers, broccoli, kale, and spinach all working together. In simple terms, it’s an ecosystem at work and it’s very biologically efficient. Moreover, because of the way the farm is built, you don’t have to add fertilizer or pesticides to make it function properly. However, the poly crop approach to farming is very labor intensive. It takes a lot of time to make a garden like that work and on a commercial scale, less and less people want to do manual labor as a profession now.
On the other end of the spectrum, the second paradigm comes directly from the industrial revolution in agriculture. It’s called the mono crop. It’s a farming approach that has reduced the ecosystem down to a single plant type so that machines such as tractors could tend to all of these plants in the same fashion. From a mechanical efficiency standpoint and an automation standpoint – this is great. Why is that? Well, because very few people are capable of growing tremendous amounts of food. However, it’s a system that requires fertilizers and pesticides just to sustain itself because it doesn’t have other types of plants to rely on. Pesticides and fertilizers are very damaging to the environment and also the food itself.
Open-source farming is still maturing as it is one of the youngest concepts in agriculture technology out there. However, it is more than capable of solving challenges as large as reinventing food production needs to suit our growing demands and ensuring future sustainability for upcoming generations.