Is organic agriculture sustainable


Organic farming is widely considered to be a far more sustainable alternative when it comes to food production. The lack of pesticides and wider variety of plants enhances biodiversity and results in better soil quality and reduced pollution from fertilizer or pesticide run-off.Oct 22, 2019

Is organic farming truly sustainable?

Since it does not include the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, organic agriculture is very sustainable in many aspects. Organic farms tend to have more fertile soil, use less energy, and sequester more carbon.

What are the pros and cons of organic farming?

What are the advantages of organic farming?

  1. No GMOs. This is probably one of the strongest arguments in favor of organically-grown produce. …
  2. Supports healthy soil. Organic farming recognizes the importance of good soil health and the link between soil protection and healthy plants as well as soil fertility and productivity.
  3. More nutrition and flavor. …
  4. Supports pollinators. …

More items…

How does organic farming benefit the environment?

Organic agriculture benefits local wildlife. A 2015 study from researchers in Argentina that was published in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment found that small mammals were more abundant around organic farms than conventional farms.

Is buying organic better for the environment?

While many consumers choose organic produce to be more eco-friendly, others believe it’s better for both the environment and community to buy food that is locally grown. Big Organic industrial farms help deliver low-priced produce to a larger population, but the food is often shipped long distances before it reaches supermarkets.


Is organic agriculture a sustainable method of agriculture?

Since it does not include the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, organic agriculture is very sustainable in many aspects. Organic farms tend to have more fertile soil, use less energy, and sequester more carbon.

Is organic agriculture the answer to the sustainability problem?

Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs (these require high quantities of fossil fuel to be produced). Organic agriculture contributes to mitigating the greenhouse effect and global warming through its ability to sequester carbon in the soil.

Is Organic actually sustainable?

The variety of organic farming and the fluctuating carbon footprints associated with foods due to everything from food miles to energy use make it hard to definitively conclude that organically grown produce is more sustainable than conventionally grown produce.

Can organic farming sustain the world?

The truth is that yes, organic can feed the world! Organic can compete with conventional yields and outperform conventional in adverse weather. Small farmers using organic methods have huge potential to expand global food production.

Is organic worse for the environment?

Luckily for you, you can deliver a comeuppance for their snobbery the next time you see them because a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that organic farming is actually worse for the environment than conventional farming methods because it is less efficient.

Is organic farming less efficient?

By forgoing fertilizers and pesticides, organic farming is much, much less efficient than standard farming, which means that organic farmers need much more land to grow the same amount of food.

Why organic farming is unsustainable?

However, organic farming may also result in soils being depleted of their nutrients, leading to a loss in productivity. If this is true, then this would render organic farming unsustainable economically as crop yields would decrease.

Why organic agriculture may not be so sustainable?

Yet a new meta-analysis in Nature does the math and comes to a hard conclusion: organic farming yields 25% fewer crops on average than conventional agriculture. More land therefore needed to produce fewer crops—and that means organic farming may not be as good for the planet as we think.

Is organic agriculture bad?

That reputation is mainly attributable to the fact that organic food is produced without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides (despite the fact that it’s about much more than that for dedicated organic farmers), which can damage ecosystems and be harmful to human health at certain levels.

What are the problems with organic farming?

Some of the widespread challenges organic growers face in the U.S include lower yields relative to conventional farming, difficulty maintaining high quality soil nutrients, gaining proper certifications and market access.

What are the cons of organic farming?

Disadvantages Of Organic FarmingOne: Organically Farmed Produce Costs More. … Two: Organic Farming Requires Well Designed Methods To Compete With Conventional Farming. … Three: Organic Farming Requires A Buffer Zone With Neighboring Conventional Farms. … Four: Organic Farming Is Generally More Labor Intensive.More items…

What are the pros and cons of organic farming?

Here are the pros and cons of organic farming.Pros of Organic Farming. High nutrition values. Better taste. Improved human health. Environmental sustainability. Food security. … Cons of Organic Farming. Diminished productivity in the long-term. Time consuming. Skills. Organic products are extremely expensive.

What is organic food?

Organic food is grown without synthetic inputs such as chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Organic farms instead use natural approaches and fertilizers, such as crop rotation and manure, to control pests, diseases and weeds. This minimizes the exposure of farm workers, consumers, and the environment more broadly to harmful pesticides.

How much lower crop yield is organic?

Since it does not use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, organic agriculture has a 25 percent lower crop yield compared to conventional farming.

Why do organic farmers lay down black plastic?

To control pests and weeds without using pesticides, organic farmers often lay down sheets of black plastic over the soil surrounding their crops. This warms the soil and accelerates the rate of plant growth while preventing erosion.

What is sustainable diet?

Beyond the way food is produced, a sustainable diet is also about the types of foods we choose to eat. A diet that has the lowest environmental impact is plant-based and made up of local, seasonal foods. Cutting out foods with high GHG emissions, like meat and dairy, is imperative to cutting down your carbon footprint.

How does agriculture contribute to the environment?

The production, transportation, and consumption of food on a planet containing over 7 billion people is incredibly carbon intensive. Agriculture contributes to a third of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to land conversion. Additionally, global food output is expected to double by 2050.

What are the effects of pesticides on plants?

Certain pesticides can poison non-target organisms such as birds, fish, and plants, and harm organisms of special ecological importance, such as bees and algae. Pesticides also often contaminate soil as well as surface and groundwater.

Why is it important to optimize resources?

In a world that must use finite arable land to feed an ever-growing population , optimizing resources is crucial. A greater demand for agricultural land could incentivize even more deforestation and land clearing, threatening biodiversity and reducing carbon stocks.

Why is it important to grow your own food?

Leaning to grow and harvest your own food is not only a hugely satisfying experience, but it could also help you cut your food budget. In addition, growing your own fruit and vegetables helps you to develop a better understanding of what you are putting in your body, and can provide inspiration for creative new meal ideas.

Why is it important to maintain a garden?

Having a good knowledge of plants and flowers is also beneficial in helping save the planet. Plants provide the oxygen which keeps us alive, and so learning to respect and maintain them is essential. In addition, you can help attract bees and insects to your garden with the right combination of foliage. These are creatures that are in danger of being lost, and so we need to invite them in at any opportunity. By maintaining a garden, you will be doing your bit to generate a whole new ecosystem, and play a valuable part in the lifecycle of many creatures—not merely humans.

Can I Bring a Dead Succulent Back to Life?

If there’s one type of plant that we know to be trending not only because it’s pretty but also for its low maintenance, that would be succulents. Succulents are naturally resilient and drought-tolerant. As such, they will most likely survive even if you forget to water them every once in a while.

What Tools Do You Need to Start a Vegetable Garden?

Any beginner gardener can get easily overwhelmed by the variety of gardening tools available. Don’t let this confusion keep you from growing a thriving edible garden of your own, especially when there are a lot of references online that can help you out.

Why Do We Need Outdoor Furniture?

Why do we need outdoor furniture? There are many reasons, and the great news is that there are some attractive and affordable furniture options for your yard, garden or even a balcony! You don’t have to have a large space to enjoy your outdoors, and as we will show you it’s good for you ! Where to start looking at outdoor furniture?

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However, it can be difficult to make some of the major changes that come with going green and focusing on sustainability , even if you believe in the cause.

Is Organic Farming Sustainable?

As more people express concerns about food quality, many are turning to organic fruits and vegetables. The organic food market continues to rise in popularity among Americans of all backgrounds. As such, many farmers are transitioning to organic farming and there is a growing number of individual organic farms popping up all over America.

Why are crop yields lower in organic farming?

Lower crop yields are inevitable given organic farming’s systematic rejection of many advanced methods and technologies. If the scale of organic production were significantly increased, the lower yields would increase the pressure for the conversion of more land to farming and more water for irrigation, both of which are serious environmental issues.

What chemicals are used in organic farming?

Organic farming does use insecticides and fungicides to prevent predation of its crops. More than 20 chemicals (mostly containing copper and sulfur) are commonly used in the growing and processing of organic crops and are acceptable under U.S. organic rules.

Does organic farming cause nitrates?

A study by the Institute for Water Research at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, published last year in the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, found that “intensive organic agriculture relying on solid organic matter, such as composted manure that is implemented in the soil prior to planting as the sole fertilizer, resulted in significant down-leaching of nitrate ” into groundwater. With many of the world’s most fertile farming regions in the throes of drought, increased nitrate in groundwater is hardly a hallmark of sustainability.

Is organic food sustainable?

Advocates tout organic-food production—in everything from milk and coffee to meat and vegetables—as a “sustainable” way to feed the planet’s expanding population. The Worldwatch Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental group, goes so far as to say organic farming “has the potential to contribute to sustainable food security by improving nutrition intake and sustaining livelihoods in rural areas, while simultaneously reducing vulnerability to climate change and enhancing biodiversity.” The evidence argues otherwise.

Is agriculture more environmentally friendly?

In recent decades, we have seen advances in agriculture that have been more environmentally friendly and sustainable than ever before. But they have resulted from science-based research and technological ingenuity by farmers, plant breeders and agribusiness companies, not from social elites opposed to modern insecticides, herbicides, genetic engineering and “industrial agriculture.”

Does organic farming work?

Organic farming might work well for certain local environments on a small scale, but its farms produce far less food per unit of land and water than conventional ones. The low yields of organic agriculture—typically 20%-50% less than conventional agriculture—impose various stresses on farmland and especially on water consumption. A British meta-analysis published in the Journal of Environmental Management (2012) found that “ammonia emissions, nitrogen leaching and nitrous oxide emissions per product unit were higher from organic systems” than conventional farming systems, as were “land use, eutrophication potential and acidification potential per product unit.”

What is organic agriculture?

Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.”. -IFOAM.

What is organic farming?

Alternatively, organic farming relies on traditional farming approaches and requires that soil and crop inputs are produced naturally to promote sustainable, healthy soils. Organic fertilizer amendments are used to correct nutritional deficiencies as part of overall nutrient management strategies.

What are the principles of organic farming?

Producers are concerned about the long term health of their soil and the environment. Organic foods are produced in the United States and Canada according to the National Organic Program (NOP) and the Canadian Organic Standards for Organic Production Systems (COR) respectively. General principles of organic crop production ensure that: 1 Products contain ingredients that are not genetically modified or chemically derived. 2 Organic food production and handling is segregated to prevent contamination from other materials and substances. 3 Traceability is possible throughout the system through adequate record keeping. 4 Adequate transition time is in place to protect and ensure the organic integrity of products. 5 Soil fertility is optimized through crop rotations, application of plant or animal matter and amendments with approved inputs. 6 Soil and crop amendments are naturally sourced, not chemically derived and low in heavy metals.

How is soil fertility optimized?

Soil fertility is optimized through crop rotations, application of plant or animal matter and amendments with approved inputs. Soil and crop amendments are naturally sourced, not chemically derived and low in heavy metals. Organic production acres are rising is response to consumer demand.

Why do people prefer organic food?

Consumers prefer organically produced food because of their concerns regarding health, the environment, and animal welfare, and they show a willingness to pay the price premiums established in the marketplace.

What is a transitional farmer?

Transitional farmers are required to farm according to organic standards, but sell their products conventionally until they have fully transitioned their land into organic production. Fertoz offers solutions for producers who want to farm sustainably; conventional, transitional and organic.

Why are organic acres rising?

Organic production acres are rising is response to consumer demand. The Organic Trade Association states that in the US, organic is the 4 th largest food and feed commodity. The number of certified organic farms grew by 7% in 2017, with continual growth into recent years. According to The Canadian Organic Trade Association (COTA), 6.4 thousand organic operations and 3.2 million acres represent 2% of Canadian farmland.

What is organic farming?

Organic agriculture is the practice of growing, raising, or processing goods using methods that avoid the use of most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, bioengineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge . The US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program is the governing entity for certified organic farming in …

Why is organic farming important?

Modern organic farming grew in response to concerns about the impact of chemically intensive farming on ecosystem and human health. Although a “chemical-free” farming movement began earlier, organic agriculture gained significant traction in the 1970s due to an increasing awareness of the negative environmental effects of some synthetic pesticides …

Why was the Green Revolution important?

The first Green Revolution emerged in response to increasing numbers of underfed and malnourished populations and allowed for the spread of agricultural technologies, such as pesticides and fertilizers, to developing countries . These chemical inputs contributed to yield increases around the world. Modern organic farming grew in response to concerns about the impact of chemically intensive farming on ecosystem and human health. Although a “chemical-free” farming movement began earlier, organic agriculture gained significant traction in the 1970s due to an increasing awareness of the negative environmental effects of some synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

What is an ecological horticulture apprenticeship?

The Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture is an educational program focusing on practical training in organic gardening and small-scale farming.

What are the benefits of becoming certified organic?

The benefits of becoming certified include price premiums, access to new markets, and access to additional funding and technical assistance programs. Producers with revenues from organic products of less than this amount are exempt from certification.

When was the Organic Foods Production Act passed?

In response to a growing demand for consumer knowledge and producer responsibility, Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990. This national standard established a common understanding of the definition of, and requirements for production of, organic produce.

Is organic certification decentralized?

Though farmers were beginning to practice organic agriculture, there were few ways for consumers to determine whether a product was organically grown or raised. Initially, organic certification programs were decentralized and either nonexistent or unregulated in many states.

Why is organic farming important?

Conversely, organic farming methods aim to protect soil biodiversity and maintain the various nutrient cycles (e.g. nitrogen cycle) found in healthy soil. Soil microbes should also be present and healthy, as biologically active soil is important in avoiding soil erosion and maintaining a healthy agricultural system.

What is the goal of organic farming?

According to Alexander Ruane, a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research, “The goal of organic farming in developed countries currently is about meeting the needs of those who can afford to buy the highest quality food. If this luxury interferes with the need to feed the entire population, then you have the potential for conflicts.”

How does conventional farming affect biodiversity?

Conventional farming involves the use of chemical pesticides, fertilisers and monoculture. All of these practices reduce soil biodiversity and lead to land degradation, as well as widespread chemical pollution; all of which have negative economic, social and economic impacts. Conversely, organic farming methods aim to protect soil biodiversity …

Why is Sikkim organic?

A major concern has been the increase in disease outbreaks and pest attacks on crops.

Why are organic farms better than conventional farms?

Farmers on organic farms get certain benefits over those on conventional farms, such as the avoidance of pesticide poisoning as seen on conventional farms that utilise large volumes of chemical pesticides.

Why is it important to have healthy soil?

Healthy soils also prevent land degradation, which is important since many areas of land around the world are already degraded. However, organic farming may also result in soils being depleted of their nutrients, leading to a loss in productivity.

What is

Earth.Org is a not-for-profit environmental organisation based in Hong Kong. It aims to raise awareness about the loss of biodiversity and the deteriorating conditions of natural ecosystems worldwide. It advocates for better governance of natural resources and campaigns for countries to adopt principles of natural capital accountancy into their economic policy making decisions. Leveraging the most cutting-edge technology, Earth.Org aims to present accessible, synthesised and engaging content for educational, advocacy and policy purposes.

What is organic agriculture?

Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects.

What is organic farming?

Organic farming is a form of agriculture in which agricultural land is cultivated without the use of artificial fertilisers, or artificial pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. It relies on crop rotation, compost, biological pest control, mechanical cultivation, and other techniques using natural …

Why is polyculture important?

Choosing polyculture increases crop resistance against pests/diseases. It can however be more difficult to work with (ie for harvesting, …).

What is the most important thing about organic farming?

One of the most important issues in organic farming is the eliminating of pests at a ecological way. Full details on this can be found at Integrated Pest Management .

How to maintain soil fertility organically?

To maintain soil fertility organic farmers use methods such as: crop rotations, cover crops, animal manures, compost, and diversity in crops.

Why are pesticides used?

Pesticides are sprayed to kill or repel particular pests and/or diseases. It generally involves the use of organic pesticides, and only in extreme cases the use of chemical pesticides. This as repeated spraying of the latter liquid can reduce the quality and build up of chemicals in the soil.

Why are seasonal crops important?

The growing of seasonal crops allows to reduce energy requirements (ie no need of greenhouses, heating, reduced organic pesticide use, …) Native crops are better adapted to a lack of nutrients and other less than ideal conditions such as pests, drought, excessively watered fields, …

What are the benefits of organic farming?

Organic agricultural systems offer a wide range of conservation benefits, including improved soil and water quality, resilience to climate disruption, lower use of non-renewable energy, increased biodiversity, and wildlife habitat quality. NSAC has long worked to ensure that federal conservation programs offer options specifically targeting organic and transitioning farmers to encourage and enable farmers and ranchers to pursue organic production systems.

What is the National Organic Program?

The National Organic Program (NOP), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) have all had a hand in the collection and dissemination of data on the state of organic agriculture in the United States.

What is the difference between organic and sustainable farming?

The key differences between organic and sustainable farming come down to the fundamental intent of the two methods. Organic farming is focused on the inputs used in production (e.g. non-GMO, no synthetic fertilizer/pesticides/herbicides), whereas sustainable farming is focused on the physical treatment of the land (e.g.

What is organic farming?

Basics of organic farming. Organic farming is a method of farming that avoids using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, or genetically modified crops. In organic farming, growers must learn how to maintain nutrient levels in the soil without synthetic fertilizer, and address weeds and insects without herbicides and insecticides.

What are the benefits of sustainable farming practices?

Sustainable farming practices are aimed at preserving higher levels of organic matter, reducing erosion, and keeping more carbon in the soil. These practices improve the resilience and long-term health of the soil, ultimately leading to higher yields. Some common sustainable farming practices include:

How to grow organically?

Common organic farming practices include: 1 Employing crop rotations and cover crops to maintain nutrient levels in the soil, the latter of which also helps reduce erosion 2 Applying manure or other organic-certified substances to improve soil health (however this is considerably more expensive than synthetic alternatives) 3 Cultivating soil regularly (up to 2-3 times per week) to control weed populations 4 Planting non-GMO seeds

Why are organic farms multi-year leases?

Organic farm leases tend to be multi-year leases due to the long-term nature of organic farming certification , but they also tend to earn higher rents than non-organic farms (due to the significant price premium available for organic goods).

What is sustainable farming?

Sustainable farming describes agricultural methods and techniques aimed at minimizing the depletion of natural resources in the ground. Sustainable farming practices are aimed at preserving higher levels of organic matter, reducing erosion, and keeping more carbon in the soil.

How long does it take to grow organic crops?

Organic farming is a challenging operation that takes years to implement. In the US, a farm must be managed using organic practices for 3 years prior to the first ‘certified organic’ harvest. While the rewards come from significantly higher sale prices associated with ‘certified organic’ crops, the elevated costs of production during the transition period can be daunting. Cheap-to-produce crops are often grown during this period for that reason.


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