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Organic is a big focus of ours. It helps to achieve the ethical goals and beliefs that we endorse such as sustainable working practices and looking out for the environment. Go Organic UK summarises, why we should try to choose organic agriculture on a daily basis, saying that “organic means working with nature, using real ingredients, with animals free to forage and graze on land that’s home to more wildlife. Mother nature cracked it years ago – all we need to do is choose organic!”
But what exactly does it mean to choose organic and what is organic, anyway?
Organic farming is a highly scientific approach to agriculture, integrated with agricultural philosophy that works alongside nature’s natural systems, choosing to enhance and learn from them. This means, that organic stays away from “solutions” that may be short-term or intend to fix issues quickly but cause massive problems to natural processes and stakeholders of agriculture.
With Health, Ecology, Fairness and Care the Soil Association defines four principles that are “the roots from which organic agriculture grows and develops.” Thus, organic agriculture should “sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal and human”, “be based on living ecological systems and cycles”, “build on relationships that ensure fairness with regard to the common environment and life opportunities” and “be managed in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well-being of current and future generations and the environment.”
To be certified as organic, farmers need to follow certain standards and regulations. The organic approach focuses on the stakeholders of farming. The focus on how farming is undertaken, the regulations are enforced and on the ethos surrounding organic means that positive effects to each of the stakeholders are advocated, and rather than covering up, or fixing with even more unnatural means, the negative effects are avoided.
Moreover, Go Organic UK explains that the standards of the organic approach “insist that animals are given plenty of space and fresh air, and that they are raised in conditions that suit their natural behaviour” and that they “prohibit GM crops and ingredients, hydrogenated fats, and controversial artificial foods colours and preservatives.” Organic farmers also “aim to create a natural balance between plants and animals to prevent pests, so that they don't need to rely on pesticides.” Thus, they create “havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds, and butterflies”, which helps addressing the mass murder of bee populations and other insects.
You can see that there are several benefits of choosing organic, which include:
- No dependency on petrol or phosphates, which are non-renewable and extracted at great carbon cost.
- More peace of mind surrounding food risk and security.
- Avoiding the mass murder of bee populations, alongside other essential pollinators through general use of pesticides (mono-cropping and neocotonoids have been proved to cause bee colony collapse).
- Championing the safer water, which is threatened by the run off of pesticides and other farming pollution.
- No need to remove pesticide residue and nitrates caused by intensive agriculture.
- Reduction of cost incurred to companies and need to spend in cleaning. The New York State has paid farmers to go organic as a means to reduce cost.
- Championing the move towards storing carbon, which is dependent on whether organic farming is sustainably managed.
Therefore, the best organic systems integrate animal husbandry, crop rotations, build up fertility, increase biodiversity by design, recycle and minimise waste and reduce external inputs insofar as possible.
Since agriculture is a worldwide application, there are not many who have not benefited from agriculture’s touch on society. Impacting employment, food production and many other avenues over time. However, agriculture also has had negative effects. When badly managed or overused there can be huge impacts to climate, the environment and the people involved, both in employment as well as health.
Because of the effects of farming, both negative and positive, it is apparent that the management of agriculture is a high priority. It is out of this necessity we should all choose organic.