Organic agriculture is about more than just growing food and fibres without synthetic fertilizers and chemical biocides. Organic farmers use growing practices that include:
- nourishing and improving the soil by adding organic matter and other natural fertilizers, so that it isn’t depleted by repeated harvests
- rotating crops so that insect and disease damage is reduced naturally, and so that the best crop for the existing fertility is grown; using intensive rotational grazing to ensure that livestock are well fed while spreading their
- organic nutrient wealth (manure) around, thus reducing water-polluting runoff from manure piles
- using natural biocides, such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), pheromone lures, hand-picking, and other techniques to reduce damage from disease and insects
- using open-pollinated seed whenever feasible
- avoiding genetically modified plants and animals
- using cruelty-free livestock management methods.
These practices benefit the planet we live on by increasing the soil and ecosystem health and biodiversity. They also benefit us and our future generations by not adding to the toxic soup we call our bodies. Please note, however, that given the state of Earth today, there is no food grown anywhere that is chemical-free. Organic farmers, particularly certified organic farmers, guarantee that they have not used toxic chemicals in the production of their foods or fibres. However, none can guarantee that you won’t find chemicals in your organic food. Some chemicals have been found in soils in jungle areas, and they’ve been found in the Arctic, two places where they hadn’t been used. Wind and water disperse these and other chemicals, and they make their way into our soils, where they’re taken up by the roots of plants.