Whenever we speak about “organic farming”, the exact sense of “organic” is surprisingly contrasting from the word’s original interpretation. Until the middle of the 20th century it actually meant anything living or resulting from living matter. In that sense, all our food - with few exceptions - is organic, it doesn’t matter how it is produced. Table salt, which is a mineral, is an example of inorganic food. The concept of an “inorganic fruit” is a contradiction in terms, except if it is an ornamental faux fruit.
The sense of “organic” as we utilize lately makes reference to sustaining soil fertility and stability by applying organic matter - compost or animal manure - back in the soil as opposed to depending on the inorganic or synthetic fertilizers that have been then universally viewed as the modern best option. It is therefore the fertilizers, and from them, the farming procedure, rather than the food, that is “organic”, and the initial problem was primarily with the soil, not with concerns like biodiversity or animal welfare. However the meaning of “organic farming” shortly divided into other definitions from original narrow differentiation between fertilizers, as different groups of “organic farmers” wanted to set standards in accordance with their own standards and interests. Some of them preferred to stick with a narrow classification regarding what you could and could not put on the crops, the soil or the livestock. Some others desired to include a complete way of life, including healthy living, concern for wild animals, an equitable manner of distribution, and so on. Amongst organizations of organic farmers all over the world, the larger view predominated.
The definition of organic agriculture has been established by The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements:
“Organic agriculture is an agricultural system that promotes environmentally, socially and economically sound production of food, fibre, timber etc. In this system soil fertility is seen as the key to successful production. Working with the natural properties of plants, animals and the landscape, organic farmers aim to optimise quality in all aspects of agriculture and the environment. Organic agriculture significantly reduces external inputs by avoiding the use of chemical or synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. Instead it works with nature to increase both agricultural yields and disease resistance.”
But the truth is, without having particular criteria which could be summarized in a label that may be placed on items to show that they were produced organically, people were oftentimes uncertain what the different “organic” labels used by particular organizations and growers really meant. Additionally, there is a public perception that companies are ignoring important issues such as local communities or environmental and health concerns in their venture to increase profit.
This is exactly why the U.S. Congress and the Department of Agriculture decided in 1990 to clean up the confusion by setting “USDA Organic” standards and a certification pattern so that people could be certain that their food really had been produced matching with the specifications. That led to a set of requirements that a majority of people in organic farming perceived a reasonable compromise amongst the different views of what organic farming is all about. These are just some of the rules that apply to organic agriculture:
*Organic farming significantly restrain the utilization of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Crops must be grown without using artificial fertilizers; all herbicides and most synthetic pesticides are also disallowed. Botanical and biological methods of control can be used.
*Organic growers rely on cultivating a combination of crops and forming a healthy and fertile soil. Soil fertility is to be gathered by way of animal and plant waste, crop rotation, and planting “cover crops” - to restore nitrogen and organic matter - like clover separating other crops.
*Animals will be raised without the typical use of drugs or antibiotics widely used in intensive livestock farming. Animals used for production of eggs, meat, or milk must also eat organic cereals or other organic food and should not be given growth hormones. Sick animals may be cured with antibiotics, but the end products cannot be sold as “organic”. Organically raised animals must have access outside.
*Genetically modified (GM) plants and products are prohibited under organic specifications. Organic food cannot be irradiated and synthetic dyes and ingredients are not allowed.
Why Buy Organic?
Shopping for organic food has never been easier, and there has never been so much choices. Any food category now comes with organic choice. It is also common sense; organic food is good food. Good to eat, beneficial for the environment and thus, for the community, good for the small producers and the farm workers who produce it.
Culinary chefs across the nation are committed to using organic ingredients. Organic foods allow true flavour to shine through, as opposed to non-organic foods that appear great while are typically stuffed with “E” additives and synthetic flavorings and ingredients.
By encouraging local growers and organic farming in your area you will also support the larger community of which all of us are a part. The positive aspects of organic food are well documented, however it truly reduces to one aspect, do you and your family honestly need to eat pesticides or herbicides with your food? By choosing organic food you are providing the most healthy solution for your family and also you will support the farms that provide us healthy and ecological communities.