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,
The wellbeing of the soil is the key to the entire process. To promote this, organic growers seek to avoid:
And positive measures are introduced to:
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.
Copyright - John Peirson 2000