How farming practices have changed over the decades

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Agriculture, considered a primary industry, has changed throughout the course of history and it continues to evolve not only to adapt to our way of life but also to respond to the changes of the natural environment through several innovations. From traditional methods that only allow for a few harvest seasons in a year to technologically enhanced practices that made farming a year-round activity, agriculture has gone a long way.

Just like how technology changed the way people do and experience everyday reality, it has also brought many significant milestones to the farming industry. During the 1940s in the rural America, farmers were only able to feed 19 people in a day. With technology and the advancement of agricultural tools and machines, a single farmer can now produce enough food for 155 people.

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This number is crucial to some regions plagued with drought and famine like Africa. Several factors have contributed to this food shortage problem like climate change, low farm productivity, and overpopulation. However, African social entrepreneurs are starting to look at technology, more specifically digital technology to solve recent issues and predict future challenges, deploying cloud computing, connectivity and open source software to increase yields.

Changes in agricultural education has also risen to the challenge of responding to the signs of time and actively addressing the current problems faced by farmers and the industry as a whole. Unlike the limited courses offered ten years ago, new and better degrees that can benefit agricultural practices are being incorporated to other related studies.

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These changes are expected to improve knowledge and awareness on identification of solutions to several farming problems faced by big and small farmers around the world.

Restorative gardens: The backyard as a healing sanctuary

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Who would have thought that the humble activity of pruning roses, digging trenches, or planting bulbs can help you live a happier and longer life? The good news is, this activity is accessible to everyone, young and old – and it doesn’t matter if you have that rare ‘green thumb’ or not.

A 2016 research gathered substantial evidence to support the claim that gardening can have long term effects on the overall physical, psychological, and social health of an individual. In addition, the study have concluded that this type of activity can reduce or even prevent several health issues that are common today.

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So what are the specific benefits of gardening to our overall well-being?

First, as a physical activity, gardening is estimated to burn 200-500 calories in every hour you spend with your plants. Children and even the elderly can enjoy such benefits that can help maintain a healthy weight and fight the causes of obesity.

Taking care of your plants and home-grown herbs can also contribute to the increase of your bone density – second to weight training. In fact, a recent study has indicated that women who do weekly activities from doing yard work and gardening have higher bone density measurements than those who are inactive.

Aside from its physical benefits, gardening is also one of the best and cost-effective ways to improve one’s mental health especially for mothers with depression. This is because of how gardening immerses them natural and healthy environment while promoting an active engagement in such creative and positive routine.

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In fact, further studies have claimed that sufferers of dementia can rely on horticultural therapy, a non-pharmacological option that helps improve the patient’s attention, reduce stress and help improve their sleep patterns.

Outside health, gardening can also be a potential source of additional income. Hobbyists can channel their passion into business by serving as suppliers to organic restaurants and other local food businesses. Especially with the emergence of the farm-to-table concept, small and independent farmers play a key role in building sustainable businesses. Many of today’s most successful restaurants source their ingredients from local farmers, cutting carbon emissions from long-distance delivery and empowering the lives of small-scale growers.

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