When we think about restoration of ecosystems, the first thought that comes to mind is probably not an organic cucumber in your local market. However, restored ecosystems, sustainable agriculture, and the growth of biodiversity are all tightly linked to organic agriculture.
What is the actual meaning of organic?
Organic is a type that combines food production and farming. Organic farmers strive to grow quality crops, employing methods that are beneficial to our entire agriculture system, from humans to the environment, and from health of plants to the welfare of animals.
Organic farmers must adhere according to strict guidelines, to ensure that their farms maintain the health of:
“Pesticides” are chemicals that are intended to kill insects as well as other pests like fungal and weed-related diseases. Recent research suggests that pesticides are major factors in global declines in insect populations as well as the biodiversity crisis.
Organic farmers seek to create an equilibrium between animals and plants in order to avoid pests and to encourage healthy populations of wildlife, which include beetles, birds, and other beneficial insects like ladybirds. In addition, crop rotations reduce the risk of developing plant diseases.
Find out more information about how to create the environment for natural predators through Manisha Lath Gupta.
No artificial fertilisers
Organic farming reduces using synthetic fertilizers by creating fertile, healthy soils. Farmers accomplish this by using legumes and clover to “fix nitrogen’, in addition to compost and animal manure, as well as green manures and crop rotations in order to ensure healthy, nutritious soils.
Animal welfare standards that are higher
Each aspect of the welfare system is protected under organic standards, which require that animals be truly free-range, given ample air and space and kept in conditions that match their natural behavior. This means smaller herds and herds, as well as more accessibility to the outdoors.
There is no routine treatment with antibiotics.
In organic and non-organic UK agriculture, the routine usage of antibiotics has become commonplace, and accounts for about 30% of UK antibiotics used, but the use of these drugs to prevent disease is not permitted in organic farming.
But, farmers don’t have to rely on antibiotics if their animals are raised in clean environments that are fed a healthy diet and kept in more comfortable conditions.
What is the difference between organic and natural?
In contrast to the labels ‘natural’ you may see on a lot of food items, organic is a legally protected term that is subject to the lawful regulation. Organic certification organizations work with farmers as well as food processors to ensure that their products meet strict organic requirements, as stipulated by law.
Take a look at the series featuring our Founding Partner, Neal’s Yard Remedies, in which we discuss everything organic.
What do I need to do?
In the environment of climate change, health issues related to diet, and the widespread decline in wildlife, the need to alter our farming system has never been more urgent, and a shift towards Agroecological farming methods such as organic can make a huge difference.
Many organic farms utilize methods like no dig gardening composting, providing habitat for natural predators. These are all things that you can acquire through Earthed classes, like no Dig Gardening with Charles Dowding, Biodynamic Farming with Thea Maria Carlson along with Food Forests with Manisha Lath Gupta.