Organic agriculture was born from the desire to eat higher quality foods, free from pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals. As more people understand a wrong nutrition can be the source of many diseases, they become more aware of the fact that we are what we eat. From here to rejecting unhealthy foods there is only one small step. Farmers who have switched to growing organic crops have proved once more that it is possible to obtain excellent results without using all those pesky chemicals. Natural fertilizers such as manure, compost and bone meal can be as effective as artificial ones. Besides, clever farming techniques such as companion planting and crop rotation can secure a sustainable supply of food, year after year, for a very long time.
Why Switch to Organic Agriculture?
Humans are the direct beneficiaries of organic agriculture. They eat better foods, thus enjoying a better health, consequence of a healthy nutrition. Besides, people living on farms can breathe a better air and avoid direct contact with all those potentially harmful substances. Life is better, produce is better, so we can safely say organic farming makes the world a better place.
Related: The Harmful Effects of Pesticides to Humans
The soil is another beneficiary of this type of agriculture. When crops are rotated, the soil doesn’t get depleted of its minerals and other nutrients that are vital for next year’s plants. This is not done at random; crop rotation is a science with well-established rules. You need to plan everything may years in advance, as you already know what comes after what. The main benefit is that the soil heals with each rotation, becoming more fertile and ready to welcome the next plants.
Natural Insect Predator
Since the use of pesticides is forbidden, many vegetables and legumes may never see the kitchen. There are natural insect predators that attack plants. The intention is not to kill them, but to get the food needed to survive. This is the law of nature, so there’s nothing evil about it. However, if farmers want to make some money out of their efforts, they need to find ways of keeping those insects away. The best method is the natural one. This implies encouraging other species to thrive and decimate the predators. For instance, some birds are the natural enemies of various species of insects. If you encourage those bird species to nest and lay eggs nearby your fields, they are going to make sure your crops are well-guarded, as they are going to feed themselves on insects, preventing them from spoiling your crops. There’s nothing wrong with giving nature a helping hand, so this procedure is accepted in organic farming. In general lines, growing organic produce implies the use of natural substances and methods as opposed to synthetic compounds that may poison the soil for many years to come.
Enhancement of Biodiversity
Another benefit of switching to ecological agriculture is the promotion and the enhancement of biodiversity. Biological cycles are encouraged. Management practices aim to restore and enhance ecological balance. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved. In a way, it is like a travel back in time, to an age when agriculture was practiced without the use of any artificial substances to keep predators away or to push crops grow faster and bigger. Nobody wanted faster an bigger, as old times farmers knew the natural growth cycles of all foods they cultivated. They also knew there was no point in rushing the things, as nature had its own course to follow. People only needed to be patient and to care for their fields and orchards.
Some artificial fertilizers and pesticides can stay in the soil for as long as decades, thus creating a long term problem. If a farmer decides to switch to organic agriculture, he won’t be able to use the land where he had sprayed toxic substances to kill the weeds the year before. There’s a certain amount of time that needs to pass until the soil becomes clean again.
The biggest benefit of going organic is that you can bring your contribution to leaving a better world to our children and grand children, so that they can also enjoy the wonders that are now part of our life, wonders too many of us take for granted.