What does Organic mean?
- Organic Farming means looking after the soil. It’s easy to overlook the vast amounts of micro-organisms that live in the soil in which we grow the food that keeps us alive. Plants establish better roots in better soil, which makes them more resistant to floods/droughts and all the other stuff that’s coming our way. It’s not glamorous, but it’s incredibly beautiful.
If you want to know more about this, there’s an excellent article by George Monbiot here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/25/treating-soil-like-dirt-fatal-mistake-human-life which discusses the idea that we only have 60 harvests left if we go on like we are.
- In line with looking after the soil, Organic farming uses no chemical pesticides or fertilizers. It goes without saying that this is better for the environment and our health. Don’t let that put you off eating your fruit and veg. Any fruit and veg is better than none, but if you can get organic, so much the better.
If you want to just try switching up some of your fruit and veg to organic, some is known to have more pesticide residue than others, known as the “dirty dozen”- more info on the specifics here
- It means accepting the fact that we are not the only species on the planet. Everything on earth is interlinked, which is true regardless of whether or not you consider this to be a “hippy” notion.There is up to 50% more wildlife on organic farms than regular farms. You may also have heard of “permaculture” or “biodynamic farming”. Put simply, these are all just methods of farming that work with nature rather than against it. There’s a lovely example of this called the 3 Sisters Planting method, for growing corn, beans and squash. You plant the corn first, then the pole beans which support the corn, then the squash. The beans add nitrogen to the soil and the squash shades out the weeds.
When we plant up huge areas of monocrops (wheat, corn and soy being the larger examples), for the sake of progress and ease, we are wreaking havoc on natural systems that are not used to working in this way. They are naturally more unstable and less pest-resistant, meaning they need an ever increasing use of new pesticides to keep them growing.
This is a very reductionist list of the complexities of organic farming, but hopefully it gives you a bit of an idea.