This post is also available in: Italiano
What is Organic Farming?
Organic, natural etc., there are many adjectives used to qualify what we eat. The words that have now entered the common jargon, which give the idea of good and healthy food for our metabolism.
But is this the case? Does organic always mean healthy? And what comes to mind when we read a label that says “organic certified”?
In 10 points it will be explained what lies behind the simple label “certified organic”.
Organic agriculture is going mainstream, but not the way you think it is.
Here are the 10 things to know!
- No to synthetic chemicals. First of all, even if it seems obvious to everyone the use of synthetic chemical products is excluded from organic farming. Only fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides of natural origin (plant, animal or mineral) are therefore allowed. These are listed in special lists authorised by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policy (MIPAAF) and bear the words ‘authorised for organic farming‘ on their labels.
- Quality, not quantity at all costs. The strength of organic farming is (or should be!) the intrinsic quality of the food itself and not the yield per hectare sought at all costs. It is a method of cultivation that – through crop rotation, the use of organic matter, simplified farming procedures – is integrated into the natural processes in an environmentally friendly way respecting the agro-system and the health of farmers and consumers.
- No GMOs. GMOs are not allowed in organic farming by the European laws.
- Natural products also have an environmental impact. As already mentioned, organic farming cannot make use of synthetic chemical products but uses some of the other substances of natural origin. Agropharmaceuticals such as Bacillus thuringiensis, substances such as pyrethrins, sulphur, sulphate and copper hydroxide (verdant), despite their natural origin, have a considerable environmental impact. For example, copper, widely used as a fungicide, is toxic and accumulates in the soil and the biocidal action (ability to cause harm to the pathogenic organism) of natural insecticides is not fully known and could also have negative effects on wildlife (some researches confirms this risk).
- Organic certification does not cover the soil. No one ever thinks that organic certification only concerns the production process but not the land. In this sense, the Italian researcher Alessandro Mendini says: “If agricultural land were examined they would have to eliminate the organic certification since the soils are all polluted, and the water used for irrigation is polluted as well”.
- Organic does not mean greater nutritional properties. Another question, or rather almost a certainty that we have is that organic fruit and vegetables can boast greater nutritional properties. Organic certification only guarantees that the relevant standards (e.g. no prohibited pesticides) have complied during the cultivation (or processing). It is therefore not a certification on the nutritional properties of the final product but only on the production process.
- The fake organic exists. This issue has been highlighted by the lack of farm controls, or rather lack of severe regulations from the certifying bodies. In fact, several judicial and journalistic investigations have shed light on a series of scams related to the falsifications of organic products: poisoned wheat sold as organic, organic companies selling conventional fruit and vegetables etc. Those issues have partly undermined confidence in the industry and have further triggered the debate on whether or not to opt for an organic diet.
- The certification depends on the OdC. The real problem, or rather, the “original sin” in the organic legislation concerns the relations between the control and certification body and the farm (controlled body). Well, the company chooses and pays, in absolute autonomy the the control and certification body that pleases it the most (currently in Italy there are 14 certification bodies). Among other things, the farmer may decide to change and replace the certifying body at any stage of the crop cycle. Even a child would understand the enormous conflict of interest that can arise from such regulated system.
- Organic farming is more controlled. However, regarding controls, there is a clear case in favour of organic farming. In conventional agriculture, only a few products are subjected to controls (analyses are carried out on a random basis); in organic farming, on the other hand, the regulations provide that each certified farm and its production should be compulsorily checked once a year in order to ascertain compliance with rules and regulations.
- European certified foods are not necessarily grown in Europe. Every food from organic farming, in order to be placed on the market, must have a label with the appropriate European identification logo. The label distinguishes all organic food (fresh and processed) produced or even simply processed in Europe, that means that the raw material (e.g. wheat for pasta) can also be imported from a non-EU country. This issue gives rise to a first important consideration: the materials used for the making of processed foods (flours, jams, sauces, pasta, etc..) can be of non-EU origin and therefore produced with different cultivation and control criteria compared to European legislation, which is indicated as the most restrictive in this field.
Organic farming: for or against it?
Surely, the common thought is that the increase in food intolerances, allergies or even serious diseases is due to the consumption of food altered by pesticides, preservatives or industrial processes. Here lies the strength of those cultivation methods that promote respect for the environment by looking at the ethical management of the land: organic farming, biodynamics, synergistic agriculture, permaculture, natural agriculture etc. All these methods, however, do not take into account the main and extreme factor that has been conditioning our life on the planet today: pollution.
It is essential to practice agriculture in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, but it is absolutely unthinkable to do so without adequate technology, a technology that can repair the mistakes of this industrial age, which is geared exclusively towards profit. Clean technology is needed to solve pollution.
In a nutshell, we need to de-pollute the land to get real organic food and to do that we need energy. Certainly not electric energy or other types of raw energy, but higher energy, precisely the energy that characterises the depolluting formulations of Bio Aksxter®.
The farmers who use Bio Aksxter® know the issues mentioned above very well, having chosen to use a technical means capable of cleaning up the soil, disinfecting the agrosystem and freeing agricultural products from chemical and polluting substances.
This post is also available in: Italiano