May 04, 2016 · Written by Foodtolive Team
What Is an Organic Farm and How Does It Work
There is a lot of hype surrounding organic products nowadays, and their sudden boost in popularity is causing many arguments. Some people claim that they aren’t much different from regular produce, while others attempt to prove that these foods are of superior quality. Each side has some very good arguments, so it’s hard to determine who is right. We will try to help you make a decision by explaining what makes an organic farm different and whether the produce grown there is indeed healthier.
The concept of organic farming was established in the early 20th century. Of course, original farms that created 100% toxin-free produce date back thousands of years. However, with the invention of nitrates, fertilizers, and hundreds of other chemical compounds used by farmers, the industry changed quite a bit. By the 20th century, there were only few food manufacturers that didn’t use any of these synthetic ‘aids’ to protect the crops or boost the harvest.
The increasing level of environmental pollution and lower quality of food resulted in the creation of an organic farm, a safe alternative to food manufacturers that sell toxin-free produce. These farms rely on the use of natural fertilizers and pest control solutions. In essence, this type of agricultural enterprise must not use any type of synthetic solutions to treat the crops, both during growth and procession. If this requirement is met, the farm has a chance to obtain organic certification.
A Modern Approach to Building an Organic Farm
Many people mistakenly believe that organic farming entails embracing antiquated agricultural solutions, which is sure to make the process as a whole highly inefficient. However, this isn’t the case as nowadays, we have a wide range of materials, equipment, and techniques that allow procuring great farming results without the use of synthetic fertilizers.
In fact, organic farmers of today have to invest a lot of money in top-of-the-line agricultural equipment that can help them get a better harvest without relying on artificial ‘aids’. This type of farming heavily relies on understanding the nature and developing solutions that work along with it, instead of trying to bend it to our will, like synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. To grow large quantities of high-quality organic produce, one needs to learn how to control weeds and pests naturally and how to cultivate the soil to increase its innate fertility.
This requires studying a great number of techniques and creating a mix that will work perfectly well for a specific organic farm. This is an incredibly complicated task, because there are dozens of factors that must be taken into account. Some of them are:
- Type of crops
- Fertility of the land
- Ground waters
- Type of natural fertilizers
As organic farming is relatively new, there are no strict guidelines that can help a person navigate this type of agricultural business. Therefore, it’s true that many people look for some tips studying historical farming techniques. However, they also need to keep track of the progress in the industry to know which types of equipment, natural fertilizers, and toxin-free pest control solutions can be used to help their farm grow.
Without embracing modern and more efficient methods, an organic farmer has no chance to compete with food producers that don’t restrict themselves to ‘natural only’. Thus, an organic farm of today has to be a progressive agricultural enterprise that uses historical tips as a guide, not as a rulebook.
The only downside of this approach is the fact that it increases the cost of the produce. There is no arguing the fact that organic goods are more expensive. This can’t be avoided because the technology and supplies used to create them are more expensive. Caring for this kind of farm is hard and requires a tremendous original investment. Every expense for managing of this agricultural system is higher than with a regular farm. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the products of this labor don’t come cheap.
What you need to consider is the fact that organic produce is completely free from any toxic residue that comes from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. You should take into account the benefits of these foods before you decide whether they are worth the extra money.
Personal Health and the Environment: Benefits of Organic Farming
No matter what some people may argue, but there is no denying the fact that consuming the produce from an organic agricultural system is good both for your health and the environment. The most important the advantages offered by this type of farming are:
- A boost in soil fertility.
A wisely managed organic farm can gradually increase the soil fertility rate without using any extra chemicals. The only things necessary for this are the rotation of right crops through several seasons and regular fertilization with natural solutions, like compost or manure.
One of the biggest problems of non-organic farms is that they rely on synthetic fertilizers so much that their owners rarely ‘care’ for the soil. As a result, the quality of the land goes down, and this effect spreads to the surrounding areas as the toxins from fertilizers seep into the ground waters.
- More nutritious food.
The produce from organic farmers is usually more nutritious due to the fact that their soil is ‘richer’. Therefore, the crops absorb more minerals from it. Another reason is the lack of chemicals that often ‘stunt’ the nutritional value of the crop. Many synthetic fertilizers boost the growth by ‘blocking’ some of the plant’s natural reactions to the environment. Therefore, the fruit it bears doesn’t develop the way it should naturally. It may look, feel, taste, and smell almost the same, but its chemical contents will be different from a naturally grown fruit. This difference might be minor, but it matters when you count your daily nutrient intake to maintain a healthy diet.
- Improved quality of ground waters.
Those who argue against organic farming often cite poisoned ground waters as the reason why ‘organic isn’t completely toxin-free’. To some extent, it’s true that growing produce completely unblemished by synthetic chemicals is impossible nowadays. Even if a farmer doesn’t use anything even remotely dangerous, the ground waters that flow from under non-natural fields carry some of the substances soaked up by the soil.
This is the reason why the location of an organic farm matters for its certification, because if ‘problem areas’ are too close, no amount of technology will help create pure produce. However, if the place is chosen wisely, an organic farmer gets the ‘upper hand’ and can reap the benefits of ground waters without the dangers. In fact, these fields help purify the soil and water flowing under it, improving the overall ecological situation in the region.
- Safe and healthy food.
The produce that comes from an organic farm is, without a doubt, much healthier than its synthetically treated counterpart. Some people claim that foods grown on regular farms contain only minor traces of fertilizers and herbicides, which isn’t enough to cause any lasting harm. However, the problem with these chemicals is that they accumulate in the body. The doses of ‘poisons’ you ingest with regular grains, nuts, fruits, and veggies, are extremely small, but eventually there will be enough of the toxins in your bloodstream to affect your health. The exact effect this type of poisoning has on people varies greatly. Some don’t notice it at all, others develop deadly conditions, such as liver or kidney disease, and scientists research the influence of these toxins on our DNA. The growing concern over the health issues caused by the accumulated chemicals is the main reason that prompted the creation of organic farming. Therefore, it’s impossible to deny that food grown naturally is indeed healthier, even if its nutritious value is only a little bit higher.
Should I Buy Organic Produce
Yes, you definitely should if you want to stay healthy and help make our planet a better place. Food grown on an organic farm is healthier, and many claim it to be more delicious. You can try both types of produce to compare so that you can document the subtle differences in flavors.
However, you shouldn’t consider organic products to be some kind of ‘remedy’ that will remove toxins from your body. These nasty chemicals have been accumulating in your cells for years, and the only way to get rid of them efficiently is to start consuming organic foods only and go through regular natural detox sessions.