Organic farming is the healthier alternative of the classic agricultural system. Today there are many Organic Agriculture organizations. It is said that organic farming works along with nature, not against it. However, there are many different opinions on this matter, and this subject has started many controversies.
A definition of organic farming implies the vegetables and fruits production using only natural sources of nutrients (compost, manure, crop residues, etc.), along with natural methods of crop and weed control, instead of using pesticides. It is also called input farming.
The Environmental Benefits of Organic Farming
- Long-term Sustainability. Many environmental changes occur slowly over time. The goal of organic farming is to produce food while maintaining the ecological balance to prevent soil infertility or pest problems.
- Soil. An important focus of organic farming is soil building practices such as crop rotations, symbiotic associations, cover crops, organic fertilizers, and more. These practices also encourage flora and fauna, improving soil formation and creating more stable ecosystems.
- Water supplies pollution is a big issue that our world is dealing with. This is mostly because of the use of pesticides in crops fertilizations. Organic farming significantly reduces the risk of groundwater pollution.
- Air and climate change. By not using chemical fertilizers, organic farming contributes to keeping the climate unpolluted. However, there is a lack of data in this field, and there are more studies to be made.
- Traditional and adapted seeds are preferred in the organic farming because of their greater resistance to climate changes. Furthermore, by not using pesticides, the fields in which the crops are organic, attract wildlife. All these organisms are beneficial for the environment and for the ecosystem.
- Genetically modified organisms. The use of this procedure within organic process is not permitted during any stage of the production. Organic farming is taking a precautionary approach and chooses to encourage natural biodiversity.
- Ecological services. The methods that organic farming uses are vital for both agricultural production and nature conservation.
On an organic farm, weeds are controlled with various methods:
- Crop rotation.
- This covers the soil and stops weeds from germinating.
- Hand-weeding of the use of mechanical weeders.
- Planting crops close together, to prevent space for weeds to emerge.
- Green manures or cover crops.
- Soil cultivation carried out at repeated intervals when the soil is moist.
- Animals as weeders to graze on weeds.
As with each type of conventional agricultural processes, organic farming can be categorized based on the types of techniques it employs:
- Pure organic farming: this is based on the production of crops with the help of organic materials, insecticides, and fertilizers.
- Integrated organic farming: this particular form of organic agriculture maximizes the natural potential of both pest management and nutrient management.
- Integrated farming systems: this type of organic agriculture implies recycling local resources.
Can Organic Farming Feed Us All?
This is the question on everybody’s lips when it comes to organic food. Some specialists even think that this alternative to classic agriculture methods not only will be safer for the planet but also can eradicate world hunger.
However, sometimes when people try to solve a problem they end up creating another. For several reasons, some specialists say that organic farming cannot supply all the necessary food production that the world needs. At least not for the moment.
Organic farming started to restrain the environmental impact of agriculture as well as to produce more wholesome foods. However, organic agriculture provides only 5% less yield in rain-watered vegetable crops. This limit happens due to nitrogen lack. This synthetic fertilizer keeps up with high demand from crops during their growing season better than cover crops or other natural fertilizers.
Despite the slow process of organic farming, the results are beneficial for both the soil and nature.
Why Is Organic Food More Expensive than the Conventional One?
Organic food may be more expensive than regular produce as organic businesses have certain affairs they need to get done before being able to market their products. Getting certified is among the most important steps in this endeavor. The costs imply not only an application fee for the USDA certification process but also an on-site inspection fee, as well as annual renewal costs for production and sales assessment.
As compared to conventional agriculture, organic farming has many benefits. To name just a few:
- it supports local economies;
- it is environmental-friendly;
- it prevents soil depletion;
- it offers better nutrition.
When it comes to profits, however, organic stores outperform their GM counterparts. Studies show that farmers cultivating genetically modified crops earned significantly less money as compared to their non-GM crop-growing rivals. Same is the case with the regular produce market, as organic yields appear to exceed the conventional ones.
Production cost efficiency should also be regarded when discussing the difference between organic farming and conventional agriculture. For instance, organic fertilizers are affordable and convenient as farmers can recycle them.
On the other hand, organic farming implies more care and time dedicated to fauna, flora, and human health. Is it worth it to pay a little extra cash for that? Consider your options. Not all organic foods are superior to their counterparts. However, the majority of them are worth the costs as they are the safest and most realistic solution to food chemicals.
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