We know that a healthy lifestyle is important to you. Whether you eat a natural diet or use organic skin care, you understand one of the main benefits of organic farming: It reduces your exposure to chemicals. But besides decreasing your contact with harmful pesticides and herbicides, did you know that there are even more benefits to organic farming? Read on for 4 more reasons you need to know about:
What Is Organic Farming?
First of all, what exactly is organic farming? Farmers who choose organic methods do not “use chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically-modified organisms.” Instead, organic farms use techniques harmonious with the environment like crop rotation, companion planting and composting to produce fruits, vegetables and herbs. This farming method avoids synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers which studies have linked to conditions ranging from ADHD to cancer.
Environmental Benefits Of Organic Farming
Besides reducing your exposure to chemicals, here are four more benefits of organic farming :
1. Builds Healthy Soil
When soil is maintained with only natural materials rather than artificial fertilizers, it is healthier in several ways. With more living material in organic soil, it contains more nutrients and enzymes than conventional soils. Organic soil also contains so much more helpful life forms including earthworms, wild flora and microorganisms. In fact, one teaspoon of organic soil contains up to one billion healthy bacteria as opposed to conventional soil which contains as little as 100.
2. Battles Climate Change
Who would have thought that organic farming is actually better at reducing greenhouse gases and combating climate change? In a study on soybean and corn agriculture, organic management systems were found to use one third less fossil fuel energy than conventional farms. Also, because of the difference in organic and conventional soil, organic soil “sequesters” or stores more carbon. It actually captures carbon dioxide – greenhouse gases that are warming the planet – and stores it. According to Rodale, “If only 10,000 medium sized farms in the U.S. converted to organic production, they would store so much carbon in the soil that it would be equivalent to taking 1,174,400 cars off the road, or reducing car miles driven by 14.62 billion miles.“
3. Conserves Water
Organic soil is rich with natural, living material which is superior for storing water. Because of this ability to retain water, organic soil can produce greater crop yields and reduce the need for wasteful irrigation. This valuable characteristic is a key step in combating drought conditions which can be devastating to a farm.
4. Promotes biodiversity
Organic farming doesn’t only provide diversity on a microscopic level, with more healthy bacteria and microorganisms, but also on a macro level. A BBC study shows how organic farms encourage more types of wild plants which, in turn, support a variety of wildlife.
“Wild plants are important for birds, bees and other farmland species,” says Dr Luca Borger of the department of biosciences at Swansea University. “Organic farming has advantages in maintaining these, but even a mixture of organic and non-organic farming in an area can help maintain this biodiversity. Even only 25% of fields being organically farmed can make a difference.”
Were you surprised to find out about these lesser-known benefits of organic farming? Find out more about organic farming here and tell us – which benefit is the most important to you? Let us know in the comments and on social media at Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | G+