Organic Farming vs. Conventional Farming
The differences between organic and conventional foods stem directly from the farming methods that were used during the food’s production. Many people are unaware of some of the differences between the two practices. Agriculture has a direct effect on our environment, so understanding what goes into our agriculture is important. Below is a list of some of the key differences between organic and conventional farming. One of the biggest differences that is seen time and time again across all research between the two farming practices is the effect on the land. Organic farming works to increase sustainability, biodiversity, and to encourage good soil and air quality. This is maintained by the use of natural growing practices, the avoidance of harmful chemicals, and the continued practice of crop rotation and other natural farming methods.
- Organic farming minimizes chemical usage
- Organic farming promotes biodiversity
- Soil health is improved with organic farming practices
- Only natural methods are used in organic farming
- Organic Farming
Organic farming refers to a specific type of agricultural production system used to produce food and fiber. Organic farming techniques prohibits farmers from using synthetic pesticides. All produce, grains, meat, dairy, eggs and fibers must be derived organically. To do so, organic farmers relies on developing biological diversity in the field to disrupt habitat for pest organisms, and to maintain soil fertility. By allowing farm animals access to the outdoors and feeding them 100% organic feed, a healthier farm system is created for people, animals and the environment.
Certified organic refers to agricultural products that have been grown and processed according to uniform standards, and must be verified by organizations that have been accredited by the USDA. All products sold as “organic” must be certified. To obtain certification, farmers submit an organic system plan and must undergo an inspection of their facilities. Inspectors ensure that all organic practices are taking place, as well as cleaning protocol and pest control methods, transportation and storage, and that record-keeping is being followed. Organic foods are minimally processed to maintain the integrity of food without artificial ingredients or preservatives, whereas certified organic requires the rejection of any synthetic and artificial ingredient.
- Conventional farming makes use of chemicals, synthetics, and other materials to manage weeds and pests
- Conventional farming uses unnatural farming methods
- Conventional farming use of pesticides has garnered attention towards acceptable levels of toxicity, and whether there should actually be an acceptable level
- Pesticides used in conventional farming can be damaging to your health.
Conventional farming uses unnatural farming methods such as, chemicals, synthetics, and other materials to manage weeds, pests, and grow and maintain their crops. Since there is no oversight regarding sustainability and the EPA has a high allowance level for chemical/pesticide residues, conventional farms use chemical, synthetics and genetically-modified organisms to kill pests and maximize output. This causes harm not only to your health, but the environment as well. Unfortunately, conventional farming is the most widespread method of farming. When possible, It is best to avoid fruits and vegetables that are not labeled organic. If you can’t avoid all conventionally farmed fruits and vegetables, the dirty dozen. comprises a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues, that should only be eaten when organic.
Other differences between organic and conventional farming, but these seem to be the most spoken of in regards to consumer health. There have been arguments around whether or not conventional farming methods are safe for one’s health. This is because of the pesticides and GMO’s used in the conventional farming practices. Many people are concerned that those growing practices promote unsafe chemical use, especially because the level of toxicity is said to be under a “safe” level, but what is really safe?
Luckily, many places make it easy to get ahold of seasonal, local and organic products. There are many CSA’s, grocery delivery services and organic markets that promote a more healthy way of eating.