Organic farming and food – September 2016

PumpHouse
Welcome to our monthly theme for September 2016: ORGANIC. 
The beginning of the harvest is often a time when supporters of organic farming raise awareness of their cause. The Soil Association, for example, runs its 'Organic September' campaign, with the hashtag #organicseptember.  
So ... what exactly is organic farming? Why is it an environmental issue? And should you choose organic? Read on to find out ... 

 

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What is organic?

It's hard to find a good introductory video that explains succinctly what 'organic' means. We found this one, which comes close. One thing we think it's missing is anything about artificial fertilisers, which organic farmers do not use. The use of artificial fertilisers is a major environmental concern, as you'll see below. 

NO ARTIFICIAL FERTILISERS

Organic farmers use only natural fertilisers, such as bone meal, manure, green manure and compost.

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NO ARTIFICIAL PESTICIDES

Organic farmers practise environmentally friendly methods of pest control.

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ANIMAL WELFARE

Livestock treated humanely and don't routinely receive antibiotics and hormones.

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WILDLIFE FRIENDLY

Organic farms encourage biodiversity, supporting bees, birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

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Useful links ...

Here are some links for you to investigate further: 

Soil Association, the UK's main organic certification body. 
Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm, Berkshire. 
• An article from grist.org explaining the problems with artificial fertilisers. 
• Organic September events
2016 research paper that says organic yields greater than previously thought, from which the following illustration comes: 

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