Organic Farming point of services & information
Let’s start from the beginning…
What is Organic Farming?
The definitions for Organic Farming are multiple and definitely of considerable range. Definitions start from the anthropo-philosophical theories of Rudolf Steiner and the agronomic theories of Sir Albert Howard and end up to the modern boundaries of regulatory standardization for the production and labeling of Organic Products.
A periphrastic definition which could incorporate elements both from now and the past follows below:
Organic Farming is…
an agricultural management system for producing agricultural products, which is based on practices that respect and protect farmers’ and consumers’ health, the environment and its resources, animal welfare; practices that preserve and improve biodiversity, productivity and health of important ecosystem factors such as soil, plants, animals and microorganisms.
It combines environmental (protection of the environment), economic (development of new markets) and social (rural development, alternative for the farmers) criteria, both domestically as well as on a larger scale, while maintaining and supporting the ecological balance and sustainability.
it is based on…
- the natural growth process of the plants, respecting their lifecycles and their special requirements and taking into account local conditions (microclimate and plants’ adaptability, protection and use of local varieties)
- biodiversity and ecological balance of natural ecosystems, keeping human interference to the minimum possible extent
- the limited use of inputs, replacing the synthetic substances used in conventional farming with natural, organic or mechanical methods.
- managing plant nutrition by safeguarding soil fertility and by using only natural fertilizers (Compost, organic farmyard manure, minerals, etc) and plant protection by emphasizing in preventive and mechanical methods for pest and weed control (Pesticides that are allowed for use in organic farming are found in nature i.e. Azadirachtin, Pyrethrum and Rotenone are widely used)
- animal welfare and ethics (ensuring access for herbivore animals to pastures, safeguarding animals’ health by avoiding high stocking densities in livestock buildings, installations and outdoors, prohibiting preventive use of antibiotics, permitting ample freedom of movement for animals in holdings, providing open air areas, etc)
- the use of renewable and recyclable sources of energy and inputs
it aims at…
- a responsible and balanced integration of the agricultural activity into the ecosystem (organic farming comprises a mild way of cultivation, contrary to the intensive conventional farming, therefore it has a smaller impact upon the environment)
- creating productive and economically viable agricultural operations, which shall remain in balance with the natural environment (among the objectives of organic farming is to guarantee good working conditions and a viable income for farmers)
- ultimately, producing high quality, healthy and safe foodstuffs.