A Basic Starting Guide to Organic Farming

organic farming

Sustainable agriculture can be defined as any type of farming that uses natural resources to sustain the soil, water, and environment, creating a safe and healthy environment, not only for the plant and animal kingdoms, but also for the farmers working the land. There are many different methods and practices used by farmers all over the world in an effort to make sustainable agriculture a reality, and one of those practices is organic farming.

An organic farm practices organic agriculture, meaning they avoid using synthetic chemicals and other synthetic techniques in the cultivation of crops and livestock. Instead, organic farmers use natural fertilizers, biodiversity, and mechanical extraction of soil to grow their crops.

There are many reasons why people choose to eat organic food instead of conventionally grown foods. People choose to eat organic because:

  • Organics are generally less processed and so have fewer added ingredients and chemicals
  • They contain higher levels of vitamins and nutrients
  • These contain lower levels of pesticides
  • They have been shown to contain lower levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • Organic products contribute less to climate change, as they have  been shown to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
  • They contribute higher nutritional value and can therefore boost the economy of developing countries
  • They are generally more varied, offering consumers a broader range of food options
  • The cultivation of organic crops and livestock is an internationally recognized standard for organic certification, ensuring the products end up being properly labeled. Certifying agents routinely monitor organic farms to ensure that organic standards are being met throughout the entirety of the farm’s operation.

How do you get started in organic farming?

The first step to becoming an organic farmer is to choose what you want to cultivate. Depending on where you live and what the temperature levels are like, you have a variety of options. Some common crops in organic farming include:

  • Apple and plum trees
  • Berries (strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, etc.)
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, etc.)
  • Grapes
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes

Once you’ve decided on your crop, you will need to secure a viable piece of land to grow your crops on.

Land selection is an important process as you don’t want to waste time and money growing anything on poor land. There are plenty of resources that provide information on the assessment and management of soils for food production, as well as information on biodynamic gardening and other sustainable agricultural practices.

Once you have your land ready, you need to take care of your plants. This involves a process called weeding, which is the elimination of unwanted plants that interfere with the growth of your crop. Weeds are usually seedlings or plants that regenerate from runners, so they need to be cleared off before they shed these reproductive parts.

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