How does organic or organic farming contribute to protecting the environment?

The intensification of agriculture has led to a decrease in biodiversity as well as a loss of the quality of the landscape worldwide. On the other hand, it is estimated that the world demand for food will more than double by the year 2050. This then confronts us with a profound challenge.

Agricultural systems classified as sustainable, such as agroecology and organic farming , are considered by many as a possible solution. The organic food, seasonal and proximity should be a priority in our usual shopping cart.

In this article we tell you what exactly organic farming is and how it can, directly and indirectly, help protect our environment . Do you want some tips to eat a sustainable and healthy diet ?

Organic farming: what is it?

Ecological agriculture – organic agriculture or biological agriculture – is an agricultural system based on the optimal use of natural resources, without the use of chemical synthesis substances or genetically modified organisms (GMO or GMO), obtaining organic food at the same time as it is preserved soil fertility and respects the environment .

The main objective of organic farming is therefore to produce healthy food with higher nutritional quality through sustainable procedures , without the presence of synthetic chemicals. To achieve this, it is based on a series of common principles or practices designed to minimize human impact on the environment ; some are, according to the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission :

  • Crop rotation.
  • Limits on the use of pesticides and chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or food additives.
  • Prohibition of the use of GMOs.
  • Use of on-site resources .
  • Choice of disease resistant species adapted to local conditions.

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ecological agriculture environment

Conventional agriculture vs. Ecological agriculture

Like any human activity, agriculture, whether conventional or organic, has an impact on the environment. The agri-food sector and changes in land use – the expansion of monocultures or the massive use of fertilizers – are some of the causes of the high emissions of greenhouse gases , also derived from the tasks and processes of mechanization, transportation and distribution of food.

And the contamination of rivers by pesticides is a worrying situation .

Agricultural intensification also represents the greatest threat to biodiversity , as a direct consequence of the destruction of natural areas. There have been drastic reductions in the abundance of many species associated with farmland, such as birds, with a decrease of up to 60%, warns BirdLife International in Birds in Europe: their conservation status ( study ).

The organic agriculture is an alternative following a growing concern about food quality and preservation of an environment increasingly threatened by industrialization of agriculture. And today their figures are on the rise, observing an increase in the demand for organic products , the number of farmers dedicated to growing organically and the area of ​​land certified organic, as reflected in the latest edition (2018) of the study The World of Organic Agriculture , published by FiBL and IFOAM – Organics International (.pdf , 6.09 MB).

organic agriculture in the world


How does organic farming help protect the environment?

We already know the impact of pesticides on health and the environment . Starting from the aforementioned principles of organic or bio agriculture, it contributes to the conservation of the environment through different fronts:

  1. Responsible use of energy and natural resources

Organic farming reduces the use of energy – and fertilizers – between 34% and 53%. Although it is worth mentioning that productivity in these systems decreases, that is, the crop yield is 20% lower compared to conventional systems ( study , study ).

The crop rotation is the prerequisite for the efficient use of resources in place. An example of use is the use of livestock manure as fertilizer.

  1. Maintenance of biodiversity

Ecological agriculture favors the preservation of biodiversity , a benefit whose origin lies in the conservation of non-cultivated habitats and in the limits on the use of chemical synthesis substances.

This becomes especially relevant in protected natural areas, whose main threat is agricultural intensification and pollution derived from conventional agricultural practices ( study , study ).

  1. Improved soil fertility

Organic matter is the basis of fertilization in organic agriculture . Its maintenance or increase improves the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil.

The higher fertility of the land also makes these systems less dependent on external inputs.

  1. Maintenance of ecological balances

The conservation of organic matter in the soil guarantees the adequate mobility of the nutrients, contributes to maintaining an optimal pH and facilitates the maintenance of adequate biological activity. The latter, in turn, prevents the loss of certain nutrients and favors the absorption of others – nutrient balance -.

  1. Maintenance of water quality

Benefit also derived from the reduction in the use of pesticides – approximately 97% – or chemical pesticides and inorganic fertilizers.

The industrial model of agricultural production has generated a multitude of problems: high energy expenditure, emission of enormous amounts of greenhouse gases, contribution to climate change, health repercussions, imbalances in ecosystems, etc. The organic farming is a sustainable alternative model, healthier and fair, feasible production through which to find solutions and create change.

Do you want healthy, nutritious food without toxic residues? Visit our online store of organic products and discover everything we have so that you and yours can lead a healthy life while taking care of nature.

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