1) …is produced using only natural processes.
“Natural, sustainable soil fertility is encouraged through composting and crop rotation with legumes to provide nitrogen, rather than synthetic fertilisers.”
Organic farms use no artificial chemicals and only natural processes.
3) …minimises disruption to the natural environment.
“The UK government has said that organic farming is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays, produces less carbon dioxide and fewer dangerous wastes.
“On average, plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms. Organic farms are also home to 30% more species on average.”
Source: UK Government study (2015)
4) …can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants.
“Concentrations of a range of antioxidants such as polyphenolics were found to be substantially higher (up to 69%) in organic crops or organic crop-based foods.”
Source: University of Newcastle study (Baranski) published in British Journal of Nutrition
Organic farmers work holistically. They look after the soil, crops, food quality, environment and their local community. They look to work in partnership with natural systems, not against them.
They select varieties that resist pests and diseases naturally and only use natural substances to control pests – garlic spray or beneficial insects such as ladybirds, for example. These are tightly controlled by organisations such as the Soil Association.
Organic farms never use:
- Artificial fertilisers.
- Artificial herbicides.
- Artificial chemicals.
- Genetic modification of any kind.
Organic farms do:
- Work with nature, including working with ‘friendly’ insects to control pests and bees to pollinate the plants.
- Use crop and livestock rotation around different fields on the farm. This breaks cycles of pests and disease on farms and builds fertility in soils.
- Use closed farming systems with minimal external inputs and waste outputs, and where recycling is important.
- Plant clover to reintroduce nitrates and fertilise the soil naturally.
- Nurture the long-term fertility and structure of the soils.
- Keep the use of fossil fuels to a minimum.
- Use traditional methods, such as hand weeding, as well as cutting-edge new technologies such as camera-guided weeding machines.
Certified by law
All organic food must be certified by European law. So you can be sure food with an organic label comes from verified sources.
European law gives the basic requirements for organic food. In the UK, the food must also be certified by organisations such as the Soil Association. These often involve even stricter standards than in Europe.
It takes two years to convert conventionally farmed land into certified organic land, plus a further year to convert land where established perennial crops, such as apples or asparagus, are grown.
Farmers need a licence to grow, pack and sell organic products. All organic farms and other organic companies are inspected at least once a year.
What about jobs?
Organic farming creates more jobs than conventional farming. This is because to do it well, it needs more hard work.
British organic carrots taste delicious
British organic carrots are produced using only natural processes such as crop rotations and the use of ladybirds to control pests – natural, sustainable soil fertility is encouraged through composting and rotation with legumes to provide nitrogen, rather than synthetic fertilisers
Organic crops can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants, according to a University of Newcastle study
Organic farming minimises disruption to the natural environment – the UK government has said that organic farming is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays, produces less carbon dioxide and fewer dangerous wastes.
A final word from a grower
Carrot grower Joe Rolfe explains here why he farms organically: