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What is Organic Living?

Most people understand the simple definition of organic — food that’s grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. But it is much more than that. Farmers who use organic growing methods and people who buy organic foods are committed to long-term stewardship of the land and a vision of humans being in ecological harmony with nature. Their mission is to ensure sustainability of the air, soil and water, and to maintain the health of people, plants and animals.
Although there is not yet a nationwide legal definition of the term organic, generally it means that the food was grown in soil that had no synthetic chemicals added for a minimum of three years. If the food is processed, it’s done without chemical additives or preservatives. Organic farmers use natural pesticides and fertilizers like compost and manure, and they employ sustainable farming methods such as pest management and crop rotation.

Note: Organic doesn’t mean pesticide-free, however. Some organic foods may have residues of pesticides from chemicals sprayed on crops of neighboring farms, or from contaminated runoff water or shifting soil.

Organic systems recognize that our health is directly connected to the health of the food we eat and, ultimately, the health of the soil.

Organic farmers aim to produce good food from a balanced living soil. Strict regulations, known as standards, define what they can and can’t do. They place strong emphasis on protecting the environment.

They use crop rotations to make the soil more fertile. For example, a farmer might graze sheep on a field one year, making the soil more fertile, then plant wheat the next and so on.

They can’t grow genetically modified crops and can only use – as a last resort – seven of the hundreds of pesticides available to farmers.

Parasite problems in farm animals are controlled through regularly moving the animals to fresh pasture and other preventative methods, rather than routinely dosing the animals with drugs.

Here are some of organic farming’s main features:


· Organic farming severely restricts the use of artificial chemical fertilisers and pesticides

· Instead, organic farmers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil and growing a mixture of crops

· Animals are reared without the routine use of drugs, antibiotics and wormers common in intensive livestock farming.

The word organic is defined by law. Any food labeled organic must meet a strict set of standards. Look for the Soil Association symbol for your guarantee of the highest organic standards.

Why are more people choosing organic?

Food safety: Organic farmers, as far as possible, avoid using unnecessary chemical sprays. Food additives linked to asthma and heart disease are among those banned under organic standards

The Environment: Organic farming is friendlier to the environment so there is a much greater diversity of birds, butterflies and plants on organic farms. Organic standards ban the use of GM technology

Animal Welfare: Organic farming requires animals to be kept in more natural, free-range conditions with a more natural diet

Taste: Many people tell us they buy organic food because they believe it tastes better

1. It’s healthy

On average, organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants.

2. No Nasty Additives

Organic food doesn’t contain food additives which can cause health problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis, migraines and hyperactivity. Amongst the additives banned by the Soil Association are hydrogenated fat, aspartame (artificial sweetener) and monosodium glutamate.

3. Avoids Pesticides

Over 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues are often present in non-organic food. The UK government has recently found high levels of pesticide residues in baby food, spinach, dried fruit, bread, apples, celery, and chips.

4. No GM

Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards.

5. Reliance on Drugs Removed

There is growing concern about the high use of antibiotics on farm animals and the possible effects on human health. Soil Association standards prohibit the routine use of antibiotics.

6. No Hidden Costs

Compare this with the millions that tax payers fork out to pay for chemicals to be removed from drinking water, mainly as a result of the pesticides used in farming.

7. High Standards

Organic food comes from trusted sources. All organic farms and food companies are inspected at least once a year. The standards for organic food are laid down in European law.

8. Care for Animals

Animal welfare is taken very seriously under organic standards. The benefits of the organic approach are acknowledged by animal welfare organisations such as Compassion in World Farming as well as the UK government.

9. Good for Wildlife and the Environment

The UK government has said that it is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays, produces less carbon dioxide – the main global warming gas – and less dangerous wastes.

10. Top for Taste

Many people prefer organic food because they say it tastes better. A number of top chefs choose organic, and every year many are involved in the Soil Association’s Organic Food Awards.


Some Useful Tips for You!

For your Garden:

A thriving garden doesn’t have to depend on chemical fertilizers and insecticides, With good basic care and natural-based additives, you can achieve healthy, gorgeous plants and flowers in a few easy steps!

* First, evaluate the condition of your soil to make sure it’s nutrient-rich. Organic matter is the key to every healthy garden, so if your soil is low in this department, beef it up! Adding compost or peat moss to your flowerbeds will go a long way in helping your plants establish a good root system.

* Secondly, choose plants that are native to your area for best results.

* Two to three times a year, treat your plants to a feeding of slow-release organic fertilizer.

* While watering needs will vary according to location, a good rule of thumb is to water deeply at least once a week.

* Add mulch to help plants retain their moisture.

* Finally, control harmful insects with non-toxic alternatives like soap, pepper and beneficial insects.

* If you’ve followed these tips and your plants still aren’t thriving, use a soil test kit to check the soil’s pH level. The ideal pH is seven; if your reading is a little high, add some lime to slightly “sweeten” the soil (decrease the acidity). If it’s below seven, try adding extra organic matter to increase the acidic content.

© BodyandMind

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