Advantages of Organic Farming: Organic Farming Methods vs Conventional Farming Methods
Pesticides, Herbicides, Chemical Fertilizers
Many people do not know the negative effects of large-scale industrial and conventional farming methods and the advantages of organic farming. The widespread use of pesticides and herbicides in conventional methods causes health risks for you as the consumer of the produce as well as the environment. These chemicals kill both the pest and its natural predator, and contaminate the soil and water systems with toxic chemicals, many of which are later banned due to the health risks associated with widespread crop spraying. Large quantities of fruit and vegetables still contain traces of these poisons even after washing and peeling.
Organic farming does not use any of these chemical inputs, but rather adds natural organic material, such as compost and manure to enrich the soil quality, thereby preventing these health risks and upgrading the quality of the soil over time.
Large-scale industrial farms usually specialise in the production of a few crops and use large pieces of land to grow one crop – known as mono-cropping. This type of farming seriously damages the quality of the soil over time. The biodiversity of that area will be non-existent, and due to all the chemicals added to the soil it will become lifeless and infertile. The top soil could be eroded and the millions of micro-organisms necessary for fertile soil will be killed off by the chemical sprays used on the land. Large pieces of previously fertile farmland are now becoming infertile waste land.
Organic farmers generally plant a wide variety of crops, often in with more than one crop growing together – known as complementary planting, in order to prevent pest infestation. The continuous inclusion of organic matter into the soil encourages the development of micro-organism in the soil which aerates the soil and keeps it living and fertile. Also, the organic matter in the soil prevents erosion and infertility.
Antibiotics are now standard additions into food fed to animals reared on commercial farms. These additives help to grow and fatten the animals quicker for slaughter, but the antibiotics remain in their systems even after slaughter and could be consumed when we eat the meat of these animals with unknown results to our human bodies.
Organic farmers make sure that they do not give their animals any antibiotics in order to grow faster, but prefer to be known as the ‘slow growing movement’ letting animals grow at a natural rate, making meat healthier, and tastier.
Much of the chemicals used in conventional farming methods land up in our water systems contaminating our water supply. In addition, run-off water from conventional farming operations that makes its way to the sea is causing ‘dead zones’ in the ocean. The primary cause of dead zones is Nitrogen leaching into the sea from conventional fertilizers.
Organic farming does not use any fertilizers and so does not negatively affect our fresh water supplies or ocean environments.
Conventional farming uses large quantities of fossil fuels to drive tractors and transport the produce across the country to major food outlets.
It is better to buy locally produced organic food, thereby eating what is in season in your area and not buying food that has come from across the country, or even other countries, at great cost and using up large amounts of fossil fuels.