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What is Organic Farming?

Think You Know What Organic Farming Is? Read This to Be Sure

Organizations such as International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements are conducting awareness programs to encourage and foster organic farming.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
"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." - International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements

A type of farming that restricts the use of chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides and relies more on crop rotation and green manure is known as organic farming. In Europe, organic farming is known as ecological agriculture. Organic farming helps to sustain the mineral resources of the soil and prevent soil pollution through chemical contamination.

There has been an increased demand for organic products such as cotton clothes including baby clothes, food and so on. Today, many countries are promoting organic farming based on the standards and norms set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, an international organization that was established in the early 1970s.

The Features of Organic Farming

It is a common belief that our health is directly related to the food we consume. The quality of the food depends on the health of the soil it grows.

Organic farming gives importance to environmental protection and helps to sustain the Earth's ecology by way of soil conservation. Farmers, who undertake farming the organic way, practice crop rotation to enrich the soil with natural mineral resources.

Organic farmers have to follow the norms set by the local organic farming associations and they are not allowed to cultivate genetically modified (GM) crops. The minerals for the crop known as crop nutrients are given using insoluble nutrient sources through soil microorganisms that increase nitrogen levels in the soil. For instance, alternating legumes with the main crop would increase nitrogen levels in the soil.

Chemical drugs are not administered to farm animals to control fleas, neither are artificial chemicals used to combat pest and parasite problems. Instead, these problems are controlled by moving the animals to new pastures and by using natural, organic substances to control the infestation of pests and pathogens infecting animals and plants.

Organic gardening includes vegetable gardening and many flower and vegetable gardens are using composite manure for their flowering plants and shrubs, instead of chemical fertilizers.

Reason for Choosing Organic Products

Today, more and more people are opting for organic food products and organic clothes made from organic cotton and wool. The reasons why organic products are preferred over inorganic products are listed below.
  • The organic food products including vegetables, coffee and fruits taste better than the ones produced using chemicals.
  • Organic farmers use herbal pesticides, instead of chemical sprays. Hence, the organic fruits and vegetables are safe to eat for the people who suffer from asthma and heart disease.
  • This type of farming is environment-friendly and does not use genetically modified hybrids or chemical fertilizers.
  • The organic farmers are concerned about the welfare of the farm animals. The milk from an organically fed cow is better than tinned, powdered or artificially processed milk.
  • Organic food is fresher compared to non-organic food because no preservatives are used.
Demerits of Organic Farming

The first and foremost demerit is that all organic products are expensive. Common people cannot afford organic food and clothes made from organic wool and cotton.

It is labor intensive, compared to mechanical agriculture. An organic farmer has to observe his crops regularly for timely pest and weed control.

To become an organic farmer, it requires immense patience and considerable skills. Organic farmers do not use chemical pesticides to get rid of pests. Instead, they have to be always on a lookout for weeds, insects and parasites on the farm. They do not have off-shelf formulas for fixing up the various farming problems they encounter.

The transition period of the conversion of a conventional farmer to an organic farmer is a learning period and he tends to face a lot of difficulties. During conversion, the time period to develop a healthy ecosystem in a conventional farm is long and time-consuming. During this period, the new organic farmers would require a lot of help and tips from the seasoned organic farmers.

Like any profession, organic farming also has it own pros and cons. If awareness programs are conducted, more and more conventional farmers are likely to opt for organic farming. When there is a bulk production of organic products, the prices of these goods will come down and make it affordable for the common man.