What is Organic Farming?
Organic farming is the production of food using all natural methods - avoiding all synthetic chemicals and genetically modified organisms. Its' core philosophy is that of sustainability or 'zero impact'. The organic farmer seeks to leave the earth in its' natural state after the harvest.
The focus of organic methods is on soil quality. Crops are grown without artificial fertilizers and pesticides, and livestock is reared free of drugs and hormones. Proponents of organic food believe it produces food with higher quality and nutritional value than conventional chemical-based methods.
There are many different styles of organic food production but they all adhere to the same principles:
* no artificial fertilizers or drugs
* no genetically modified organisms
* prevention of soil depletion
* 'bio diversity' - the growing of a range of crops not just a single species.
Organic farming has come about as a consumer reaction against the chemical based methods that have been used so widely in 20th century food production. Really though it is simply a formalized definition of traditional agriculture as it has been practiced for thousands of years before 20th century chemicals were invented.
So far, organic farming has been limited to small businesses growing for local markets. Organic farming methods are very expensive compared to their chemical counterparts, and the production yields are low when compared to 'conventional' farming.
Consumers of course are willing to pay a premium for the improved flavor and nutrition value of organic produce but it remains a premium market. This will change as more large scale organic producers enter production.
Most countries now have 'all organic' type food stores in the larger cities. So long as there are people who enjoy healthy living and an alternative to the chemical ridden norm, these businesses will continue to flourish.