"An organic farm, properly speaking, is not that which uses certain methods and substances and avoids others; it is a farm whose structure is formed in imitation of the structure of a natural system, that has the integrity, the independence and the benign dependance of an organism"
-Wendell Berry, 'Gift of Good Land'
The industrial revolution and modernization has been at the cost of Mother Nature. Modern man has contaminated both the soil and the atmosphere, giving rise to the 'greenhouse effect' that is hreatening to destroy our planet.
The current fad for organic food is more than just hype. Today it is a common practice for farmers to liberally make use of pesticide sprays and fertilisers in order to improve the crop yields. The effect of this 'chemical cocktail' has been held responsible, among other factors, for the increase in the global incidence of cancer.
A group of people, who felt very strongly, about the long- term effects of these tampered food, started to grow what is now called, “organic” food. Described as “wholesome goodness”, organic foods are produced by natural methods, and therefore considered nutritious and safe.
Organic food refers to crops grown, or products from animals reared, according to the legally-regulated standards of the country that they are sold in. Certification of organic food is required and non-certified farms cannot claim their products to be ‘organic’.
When crops are grown without the use of conventional pesticides, sewage sludge or unnatural fertilizers, and processed without the use of ionizing radiation or the addition of food additives, they are termed, ‘organic’.
Improving soil quality, or ‘feeding the soil to feed the plant’
is the bottom line of organic farming. This method of farming extracts the benefits of the cumulative effects of varied techniques. A variety of methods such as careful crop selection, use of mechanical controls, such as row covers and traps, using organic mulches and crop rotation are employed in organic farming. The farmers who carry out organic farming, also avoid the use of plant growth regulators.
Organic farmers make use of green manure and compost, besides using certain processed fertilizers, such as seed meal, mineral powders and green sand, which is a naturally occurring form of potash. Pest control employs different methods, one of which also involves the introduction of beneficial organisms that stop the proliferation of pests.
‘Organic’ animals are those that are not genetically modified, and those that are fed on organic fodder and reared without using growth hormones.
Perhaps it is only apt to accept the saying: “Doctor treats; Nature cures.” -Mme de Krudener