By Erin Gordon Organic Farming

By Erin Gordon
• It is an agricultural method that promotes the use
of natural fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and
animal feed.
• In addition, it is the practice of crop rotation
and the introduction of “beneficial pests” to
maintain soil productivity.
• Farmers also add natural materials like compost
and minerals to increase soil health and ensure a
good yield.
To be classified as “Certified Organic” a farmer
must ensure his crops meet the standards of the
COABC or the Certified Organic Associations of
British Columbia in BC.
This can include:
• Treating animals in a
humane way
• Using quality composts
• Producing food with no synthetic colours or
A lot of research has been done about the effects of
organic Farming. So what are some of the positives?
• Organically grown food may be healthier.
A study done by researchers at California of University, Davis,
has found that food produce by organic methods contain up to
58% more polyphenolics (an antioxidant) than conventionally
produced food.
The researchers concluded that the higher levels of
polyphenolics, which plants use as a natural defense system,
could be attributed to the greater amount of pests they must
fight. This is another way of saying that pesticides and
herbicides could be lower a plants rate of phenolic production.
• It’s Good for the environment too!
One of the main reasons for farming organically is to protect and
maintain the health of the soil. To do this farmers use nutrient-rich
composts that contain only organic materials, they add minerals like
rock phosphate and greensand and they practice crop rotation.
The use of GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms is a controversial
topic. Organic farmers do not use them, but they are a trend in many
large argicultural sectors. Not only are GMOs unnatural, but they have
been linked to excess leeching of soil nutrients which may cause soil
degradation and ultimate desertification.
Water is another has become a big issue
lately. Because no chemicals are used in
organic farming, the possible groundwater
contamination is nonexistent.
• It’s good for the economy
Agriculture is a major industry in Canada. Organic farming, though much
more specialized holds plenty of financial benefits.
• large opportunity for rural jobs.
• less external costs for unnecessary pesticides, fertilizers,
• It removes the need for reversing
the effects of soil degradation.
• The damaging effect of chemicals
from agricultural practices on
people’s health may be expensive in
the long run. Organic farming
alleviates that possibility.
There has been a lot of talk about the benefits of
organic farming, but what are some negatives?
• It might not be sustainable/profitable
Many studies conducted on organic farming have concluded that
the yields provided are not productive enough to be profitable. One
such study was done in Switzerland over a 21 year period. The
researchers found that organic yields were 20% lower than those of
conventional farming.
With projections of a massive population increase over the next
few decades, food production is going to be a hot-button issue. If
organic farming cannot meet the demand, is there any point?
• Is organic worth the steep price?
The cost of a conventionally grown 5lb bag
of red grapefruits is $3.00 at Save-On. At
the same store you can purchase only 3
organic red grapefruits for $2.00. This
price seems ridiculous when many studies
have shown that regular fruit is just as
nutritious as organic.
• Organic food has become a status
• In our current economic crisis, is it
really worth it?
• Organic agricultural practices are a promising method
that will hopefully be expanded in the near future.
•The benefits of buying, eating, and producing organically
well out weighs the negatives
• The price may be a factor in deciding to buy organic but
the health of our soil should be more important.
• In our environmentally conscious world, people need to
be more informed about how their food is produced and
what effects that is having on the earth and our futures.