"Three Sisters" cropping methods beneficial to modern-day soil sustainability

January 21, 2013

The "three-sister method" used by the Iroquois people involves growing three crops; corn, beans and squash together in the same field.

Associate professor in Cornell University's agriculture program Jane Mt. Pleasant, says tilling, or ploughing, increases soil erosion and lowers the amount of nutrients for plants to feed on in the soil.

"This system has a lot of principles that we can use in thinking about sustainable agricultural systems today. One of the primary things is actually that it was done without tillage. We recognize that tillage, even though it does lots of good things, it also is enormously destructive of our soil resource."

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