Return to Community Channel

Organic Corner


  • Introduction
  • Organic Farming
  • Organic Gardening
  • Organic Suppliers (local)


Organic farming and organic gardening treat the natural environment as a complex living organism and apply to it the sort of care and respect that would be due to a living creature. For someone who cultivates organically, the environment is more that just the soil in which things may be grown. It includes the trees, plants, animals, birds, insects, etc. Instead of treating the soil as a container for growing things and extracting the most goodness from the soil in the short term, the approach is to nurture the environment, helping all parts to be healthy, so that a dynamic and sustainable balance is achieved between the needs and activities of animals, birds, plants, soil, etc.

The wellbeing of the soil is the key to the entire process. To promote this, organic growers seek to avoid:

  • Use of artificial fertilisers
  • Use of synthetic sprays
  • Animals being raised in unnatural or overcrowded conditions
  • Animals being fed unnaturally e.g. by adding growth hormones to their diet

And positive measures are introduced to:

  • Promote the wellbeing of wildlife
  • Sustain naturally occurring genetic diversity
  • Reduce crop diseases through crop-rotation i.e. making frequent and systematic changes to the items chosen for growing in each area
  • Develop the health of the soil through addition of natural, humus-creating ingredients e.g. animal manure, seaweed, vegetable composts
  • Put close together crops, plants and flowers which are able to help each other (This is called 'Companion planting' and leads to pest reduction or enhanced pollination)

So that is what they do. But what are the benefits? Here are some:

First, the long term availability of food is increased by keeping the environment healthy. Second, the food produced is healthier and tastier than food that has been grown with the use of chemical-based fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. Organic food is likely to be more nutritious. I am sure all these benefits are real, even if it is too early to be proven via clinical studies.

From a subjective point of view there are also the social benefits coming from encouraging the wellbeing of wildlife.

Back to the top

Return to Community Channel

Copyright - John Peirson 2000