What is Organic?
Wikipedia says: Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. Organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides but excludes or strictly limits the use of manufactured (synthetic) fertilizers, pesticides (which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides), plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock antibiotics, food additives, genetically modified organisms, human sewage sludge, and nanomaterials.
Basically, don’t stand between nature. Organic farming is based on holistic, ecologically balanced agricultural principles involving soil fertility, crop rotation and natural pest control. Many everyday products can be produced on organic farms, including vegetables, grains, meat, dairy, eggs and fibers such as cotton. What makes these things organic is how close to their natural state they stay. When growing organic goods, farmers do not use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers on crops, and they reject the use of synthetic hormones, antibiotics or other medications in their livestock. Animals are provided with organic feed and allowed access to the outdoors.
- Taste better
- No chemicals or pesticides
- Prevent soil erosion
- Stop polluting ground water
Compost is organic material used with success in both home gardens and farms. It is made of decaying and decayed organic wastes and is spread on garden beds and organically farmed fields. Examples include:
- Yard trimmings — wood chips, grass clippings and leaves
- Food waste — coffee grounds, tea bags, and fruits and vegetables
- Manures — poultry, cow and horse
Using compost can encourage beneficial bacteria and fungi to grow, helping to create nutrient-rich, moist soil while also eliminating or reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
Green manures and cover crops also improve soil quality. Plants are grown specifically to benefit the soil and the main crops on the farm — farmers choose from a variety of cover crop plants depending on the needs of their fields. Cover crops in general are used to protect the soil’s surface from water and wind erosion, help maintain soil structure, and help maintain the level of organic matter of the soil, all of which keeps soil healthy. Green manure is a type of cover crop grown specifically to add nutrients back into the soil; manure is plowed together with the soil, positively increasing the soil’s organic matter.
Crop rotations are also part of the strategy organic farmers use to help sustain soil fertility. For example, this year an organic farmer may grow wheat on a field, graze sheep on that field next, and plan to plant a cover crop of clover the year after.
The great thing about supporting your local Organic farm stand is that you know where the food source come from. You will know the farmer who grows them.