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Did you know it’s possible to produce healthy crops without the use of preservatives, radiation, genetic modification, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides? People practicing organic farming know it’s true. And so does a growing portion of the U.S. population. So what’s the benefit of organic? First and foremost, organic farmers keep nasty and unhealthy things commonly found in conventional farming out of farm fields and the crops we eat.
A 2014 Gallup poll found that 45 percent of Americans seek out organic foods, while 15 percent actually actively avoid them. (1) But let’s take a step back. What is organic? And why are people buying it in unprecedented numbers? The organic definition is: relating to or derived from living matter. Organic food comes from organic farming. In the United States, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certifies whether or not a farm or a product is truly organic.
According to USDA, “Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.” (2)
You may already be eating organic food, but do you know the answer to the following question: What are the benefits of organic farming? I’m about to tell you that and so much more. Organic farming facts are so intriguing; in fact, if you want to know how to start organic farming today, it’s really not as hard as you might think!
What Is Organic Farming? Current Standards
By definition, what is organic agriculture? After a few years of work, IFOAM — the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements — came up with the following definition for organic agriculture: (3)
“Organic Agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.”
In general, organic farming is comprised of several key aspects, including the use of natural fertilizers like compost and manure. Crop rotation, companion planting and natural pest control are other hallmarks of organic farming. Unlike conventional farming, organic farming grows organic food without relying on harmful synthetic, chemical substances.
There are strict standards and inspections when it comes to the production and processing of organic food. The term “100 percent…
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