Organic Production, What Does It Look Like ?
Organic foods are generally grown without or with a limited amount of synthetic pesticides, fertilisers or routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones.
The aim of organic food production is to help ensure a sustainable agricultural system that respects the health of soil, water, plants, and animals, and keeps the balance between those wonderful elements.
One practice of organic farmers in order to limit their use of fertilisers pesticides is to use muliannual crop rotation. In other words, they grow different types of crops on the same land over the years in order to enhance soils fertility. In general, they grow green manure crops in rotation with or alongside the main crops. For example, green manure crops (clover, grasses like rice and rye, legumes) replenish nitrogen in the soil which leads to a better fertility of the crops. Buckwheat grown alongside other crops limit the growth of weeds and reduce soil erosion. Waste of plant based food but also manure and animal bedding can also be used and recycled to fertilise the soil.
Another practice of organic farmers is to use preventive measures to protect their crops from pests and diseases. A commun example is the use of ladybugs and wasps which are both natural pest enemies. Sticky traps for insects in order to prevent the fruits to get damaged are also used.
It’s important to know that in case of bad weather synthetic plant protection products can be used if they have been approved by the regulation of organic production.
In the forests, wild plants growing can also be considered organic when the collection area is not treated with any products unsuitable for organic production. In this case, the collection of the plants also should not affect the stability of the natural ecosystem.
The biggest challenge that organic farmers versus conventional farmers are facing is the yield gap. To balance the fact that organic crops produce about 20-25% less food than conventional ones, the organic products are often more expensive.
Everything happens for a reason !