What is Organic Culture?
The definitions and explanations of organic culture are many, in a nutshell organic culture is a system which is dependent on ecosystem environment as opposed to agricultural inputs which are external. This system takes potential social and environmental impacts into consideration by not using inputs which are synthetic, this could include synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, seeds and breeds which have been genetically modified, additives, veterinary drugs, preservatives and irradiation. Site specific management practices which not only maintain but also increase the long term fertility of the soil as well as prevent diseases and pests are being used instead.
Are There Any Environmental benefits to Organic Agriculture?
Yes, there are many environmental benefits associated with organic agriculture, here are seven of the main benefits:
1. Long Term Sustainability
Most of the environmental changes that can be seen are long term, they generally occur slowly as time goes by. Organic agriculture takes the medium as well as long term effect that agricultural interventions have on the agro-ecosystem into consideration. Not only is it important for them to produce food, it is important to do so while maintaining and ecological balance, this prevents issues with soil fertility as well pest problems. The approach that organic agriculture takes is more proactive as opposed to taking care of problems once they come to light.
A central component to organic practices is soil building practices such as intercropping, cover crops, organic fertilizers, crop rotations, symbiotic associations and minimum tillage. These practices improve soil structure and formation as well as encourage soil flora and fauna, this provides a more stable system. This causes energy and nutrient cycles to increase and enhances the retentive abilities of the soil for water and nutrients, this compensates for the fact that mineral fertilizers are not used.
An important role in soil erosion control is also played by these management techniques. The amount of time that the soil laid bare to the forces of erosion is greatly decreased, what is increased is the biodiversity of the soil and the loss of nutrients is reduced, this not only enhances but also maintains soil productivity, Many times crop export of nutrients is compensated by renewable resources which are farm-derived, at times however it is necessary to provide organic soil with potassium, calcium, trace elements, phosphate and magnesium supplements from external sources.
A major problem in many agricultural areas is groundwater full of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Being as it is prohibited to use these in organic culture, organic fertilizers such as animal manure, compost and green manure are used to replace these, Organic systems which are well managed have better retentive abilities and are able to drastically reduce the risk of groundwater pollution.
4. Climate and Air Change
By decreasing agrochemical needs which require large amounts of fossil fuels for production, organic agriculture reduces the use of non-renewable energy. The greenhouse effect is greatly benefited by organic agriculture and being as it is able to sequester carbon in the soil, global warming is also positively affected. The larger amounts of organic carbon which are retained in the soil, the higher the mitigation potential of agricultural climate change is increased.
Organic farmers are not only custodians but also users of biodiversity at every level. By frequently using species which are under utilized the erosion of agro-biodiversity is reduced, this makes for a gene pool which is healthier, this is fundamental for adaptation in the future. There has been a lot of research proving that over the last few years, organic farming and biodiversity has greatly increased.
6. Organisms Which are Genetically Modified
During any stage of organic food production, handling and processing, the use of GMOs within the organic systems is prohibited. Being as the impact which GMOs could potentially have on the health as well as the environment is not completely understood, organic agriculture prefers to be careful and instead encourages natural biodiversity.
7. Ecological Services
The impact which organic agriculture has had on natural resources is beneficial to interaction in the agro-ecosystem, these are not only important for agricultural production but also for the conservation of nature. Some of the benefits that come from ecological services include soil stabilization, carbon sequestration, predation, habitats, conditioning and forming of soil, waste recycling, nutrients cycling and habitats. By choosing products which are organic, the consumers purchase is in fact promoting an agricultural system which is far less pollution. As far as natural resource degradation is concerned the hidden costs of agriculture to the environment is greatly reduced.
These are just a few of the many benefits associated with organic agriculture. Not only is producing organic products far healthier for the beautiful world we live in, it is also a lot healthier to consume than traditional agriculturally produced products are.