What is Organic Farming?
Organic farming is an alternative agricultural system used to boost the production and condition of different communities in the agro-ecosystem, such as plants, soil organisms, people and livestock. The method is a holistic system of not using antibiotics, growth hormones, fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms. Its primary goal is to improve enterprises that are well-balanced and sustainable with the ecosystem.
Basic Principles of Organic Farming
- Protects the environment by minimizing erosion and soil degradation, cutting pollution, promoting a good state of health, and optimizing biological diversity and activity
- Relying on renewable resources in locally organized agriculture systems
- Maintains longer fertility of soil by boosting conditions of the soil
- Deliver careful attention to promoting the health and needs of livestock
- Recycle materials and sources to the best extent possible
- Careful preparation of processing and treatment of organic products to sustain the organic integrity and essential product qualities in every stage of production
Organic farming encourages the utilization of cover crops, crop rotations, and promotes a balanced host/predator relationship. The nutrients and organic residues sourced from the field are recycled back to the soil to maintain soil’s organic matter, and fertility, cover crops, and composted manure are used. Farmworkers practice preventative insect and disease control methods such as improved genetics, crop rotation, and resistant varieties. Some significant tools in organic farming include soil conservation systems and integrated pest and weed management.
As a rule, organic standards forbid products resulting from animal cloning and genetic engineering, artificial pesticides or fertilizers, and more. These prohibited practices and products should not be utilized on certified organic farms for no less than three years before the harvest of the verified organic products. Also, livestock should be raised organically and consumed 100 percent organic feed ingredients.
Why Buy Organic?
People buy organic foods for a variety of reasons. Some want to get food products that have no chemical pesticides or produced with no conventional fertilizers. There are a few who want to try new products. Other consumers consider the environmental issues, product taste, wanting to avoid foods from genetically engineered organisms that they prefer buying organic food products.
And while organic farming also raises a lot of challenges as certain products are more difficult to grow organically than others, almost all goods can be naturally produced.
Benefits of Organic Farming
Organic produce appeals to consumers looking for a healthier approach to food consumption. Thus organic farming can be rewarding. But beyond the ethics and business sense, such practice reaps some significant environmental benefits. The industry’s research development continues to discover evidence that supports the various health advantages of organic farming throughout the world.
Here are a few of the crucial benefits wherein organic agriculture and organic products are beneficial for the people and great for the earth.
- Fights Climate Change
Based on innovative research, organic soil has a dominant role to play in fighting climate change. The study reveals that organic soil stores significantly larger amounts of carbon than conventional soil, it locks away carbon and keeps it out of the atmosphere for longer than conventional farming.
National Soil Project at Northeastern University collaborated with The Organic Center and compared more than a thousand soils from conventional and organic farms to understand how the two agriculture management practices affect the elements of soil organic carbon.
- Feeds the World Sustainably
Researchers from Switzerland’s Research Institute of Organic Agriculture presented their study indicating that worldwide move to organic farming mixed with cutting off livestock feed from fertile farmland, and sizeable reduction in food scrap, will aid in feeding the world more sustainable in the future. The study’s conclusion, made public in the journal Nature Communications, reveals organic farming can support in providing adequate food and mends environmental impacts, as long as enough high quantity of legumes is produced.
- Protects the Health of the Farmers
According to the research of Science of the Total Environment that studied the impacts to man’s health overexposure to pesticide, there are several diseases generated from the environment such as short-term effects like headaches, nausea, eye and skin irritation, dizziness, and also long-term effects like asthma, cancer, and diabetes. The people that were part of the research called for the advancement of substituting biological pesticide and developing Integrated Pest Management techniques that do not depend on pesticides. Opting organic production means ruling out the utilization of poisonous, synthetic pesticides that significantly lessens the danger to the hardworking farmers who provide food on our tables.
- Promotes Biodiversity
According to studies put out by Global Change Biology discovered that organic farming helps biodiversity. Based on information gathered from across the globe, the study realized that in general, organic farms and fields with high-level of plant diversity grew both the abundance and the number of species of valuable insects like pest predators and pollinators. The organic vineyards in Spain according to a study issued in the scientific journal of Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment found that it serves as a home to more plants and butterflies compared to their conventional counterparts. The Japanese study confirmed this discovery stating that bird diversity is more abundant on organic as opposed to traditional apple orchards.
- Fights Antibiotic Resistance
Organic farming fights antibiotic resistance in many ways. Researches indicate that through eliminating the use of antibiotic in organic farms, livestock production, and food harbor fewer antibiotic-resistant bacteria than traditional. A recent study in Microbiology found that pigs bred on organic farms have substantially fewer strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as Campylobacter which can infect man from livestock, than pigs grown traditionally. Also, the latest study also states that herbicides commonly used can have the unintended effect of increasing bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and emphasized that organic can fight antibiotic resistance using the prohibiting most herbicides.
Because more people are concerned nowadays about the environmental toll of pollutant-heavy conventional farming methods, organics are turning out to be more popular as a lot of consumers are discovering organic farming’s tremendous benefits for individual health and the environment by choosing organic produce. Reports from people who have consumed organics said that their food taste and nutrition improved due to eating organically grown vegetables. Also, many people today choose to control their exposure to pesticide’s chemical residues on conventional crops.