The term “organic farming” was coined by Lord Northbourne in his book, Look to the Land, which was published 1940. Through his conception of “the farm as organism,” he presented a holistic, ecologically-balanced approach to farming. Applicable terminology aside, organic agriculture is the oldest form of agriculture on earth. Farming without the use of petroleum-based chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides was the only option available to farmers prior to World War II.
The post-war world brought with it technologies that were very useful for agricultural production. For example, ammonium nitrate used for munitions during WW II evolved into ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Organophosphate nerve gas production led to the development of powerful insecticides. These advances since WWII have resulted in significant economic benefits for both the agricultural industry and the consumer. However, these “improvements” also brought with them great detriment to both the environment and society as a whole.
Organic farming utilizes those technological advances which have consistently yielded positive benefits proven over a period of years, such as new crop varieties, more precise technologies and increasingly efficient machinery. Another significant focus of organic farming is to actively discard those methods which have been demonstrated to have a negative impact on the environment, such as increased pollution due to pesticides, as well as increased resistance to pesticides by destructive, menacing insects which are dangerous to crops.
Organic Kava is different in several significant, important ways from the other kinds of kava that are available. First, no other climate is as conducive to optimizing the potency of this plant than that which is enjoyed on the islands of the South Pacific. It has been documented throughout history that Prehistoric Polynesians brought the kava plant over to Hawaii very, very early on. From there, due to agreeable environmental conditions and cultivation, kava spread quickly with lightening speed. It is the main cash crop of Fiji, which many consider its native homeland.
Kava’s actual home of origin is unknown, even though there is a lot of speculation. Kava plants rarely, if ever, are seen in the wild. Even so, there have been numerous reported sightings of wild kava throughout the world. These reports are generally folklore and have not been scientifically documented. Since all of kava’s cultivars are sterile, the plant can only spread through direct human intervention and activity.
There are many strains of kava such as awa, apu, kau la’au, ke-oke-o, kuaea, kumakua, liwa, makea, mamaka and papa kae, among many others. Organic certification and all-natural growing methods allow for the full potency of the kavalactones to develop in the plant.
Organic kava famers constantly rotate their crops, ensuring that the roots never rot or degrade in quality due to over-farming. Some parts of organic kava farms may sit dormant for several years, to regenerate the soil, preparing it for the conditions needed for our organic kava to flourish.
Instead of using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, organic kava farmers utilize crop rotation, field hiatus and natural-based products in order to maintain and enhance the soil’s fertility. They rely on biological, cultural and physical methods to limit pest expansion, as well as to increase the populations of beneficial insects.
Most importantly, modern organic kava farming carries on the traditional farming methods handed down throughout generations, while incorporating the newest and safest organic farming methods.