Organic

While there are many types of agriculture, consumers mainly see two: organic and conventional. Organic farming uses natural inputs that enhance soil fertility. That means nothing is used that might prove harmful to the air, the water, or the soil. Conventional farming uses petrochemical-based herbicides and fertilizers. Their use has been linked to water and air pollution, and soil contamination. -- Douglas Gayeton

Why grow organic? Why buy organic? In this edition of Food List, we explore the many reasons why producers and consumers alike prefer organic agricultural practices.

The fundamentals of organic farming revolve around land stewardship, so as to keep the land productive for generations to come. Its about nurturing what’s above and below the top soil. And producing exceptionally nutritious goods.

Some farmers and their customers question the importance of organic labeling. Many believe that to know your farmer, and the values practice on the farm, is more valuable then any organic certification. This is “face certification” — implying local first, certification second. However, as one expert notes, as the local food movement grows, so does the organic food movement. The two share a common cornerstone: a connection to food and the land that provides it.

The foundation for healthy land and healthy bodies lies in our farming practices. Explore ways you can support organic farming practices -- the first place to start is in your kitchen.

This week's terms

Organic

"Farming uses natural inputs that enhance soil fertility . That means nothing is used that might prove harmful to the air, the water, or the soil. Conventional farming uses petrochemical-based herbicides and fertilizers. Their use has been linked to water and air pollution and soil decontamination. Consumers concerned about the external costs associated with conventional agriculture—things that may affect their health and the environment—often buy organic products." - Warren Weber, Star Route Farms

Building Soil

Building soil is bringing life into the soil. It involves supporting the formation of soil aggregates through land practices that increase soil carbon and feed soil microorganisms. The aggregates are the soil infrastructure: they store carbon in a stable form and allow for the flow of air and water. While potentially long-lived, soil aggregates are destroyed by tillage and synthetic agricultural inputs.

External Costs

Health, social, and environmental costs constitute external costs. We pay for these through our taxes, through higher healthcare rates, and through pollution to the environment. 

Land Stewardship

Doing the best by the land you own or manage. We generally think caring for the land means keeping it the way it is, but as much of our land has degraded true stewardship entails restoring ecosystem function. Because we’ve lived with and on deteriorated landscapes for so long we’ve collectively lost memory of how vibrant our lands can be. The soundest land stewardship restores ecological processes so that soil health, the water cycle and biodiversity are enhanced.

The food list partners

Join the food list