Three Advantages of Organic Gardening and Farming
Organic gardening and farming are good for people, and good for the environment. Here are three ways we benefit from organic gardening and farming.
Organic gardening and farming keep toxic pesticides out of the water supply and food chain. Pesticides cause a lot of human misery, from birth defects, to cancer, to allergies and other health problems. Pesticides now contaminate nearly every square inch of the ocean and land mass of the world. Pesticides are not excreted by plants or animals, so they become concentrated as they move up the food chain. People are at the top of most food chains, so we bear the brunt of the damage.
Organic gardening and farming rely on non-toxic ways to control pests. Pesticides are rarely used, and when they are, the pesticides are made from naturally occurring plant oils and minerals. Organic gardening and farming always uses the least toxic method possible to control pests.
Organic gardening and farming maintain the soil biomass. Biomass is the total amount of living material present in an area. Good, living soil contains microorganisms, insects, small animals and plants. All of this is part of the biomass, and all of it is necessary to maintain soil productivity and fertility. We also need this biomass for good nutrition. For instance, no plant or animal on earth can manufacture vitamin B12. All vitamin B12 is originally manufactured by bacteria that live in the soil.
Industrial agriculture relies on chemical fertilizers to add specific nutrients to the soil to increase productivity of monocultural plantings. If all you are growing on a piece of land is soybeans, you don't need add the nutrients necessary to grow corn. Chemical fertilizers also sterilize the soil. Much of the commercially farmed land will not grow anything without adding fertilizer because the soil cannot support growth on its own. Plants don't even decompose into the soil because there are no bacteria or insects to help break them down. Organic gardening and farming practices maintain the biological content of the soil.
Organic gardening and farming give us healthier food. If we suffer when the soil and water are contaminated with pesticides, of course we suffer when those pesticides are on or in our food. You can't wash all pesticides off; many plants take the chemicals in and they become part of the food we eat. Apples are a prime example; commercially grown apples nearly always contain traces of pesticides in them.
Organically grown food is more nutritious for other reasons, too. We may know what chemicals to add to soil to make soybeans produce a good crop, but we do not know everything about soybeans. Scientists are just now discovering phytonutrients—previously unidentified substances in plants that are necessary for their health—and for ours. Organic gardening and farming restores the soil to its natural, living state so that all the nutrients are present, whether we can identify them yet or not.