The organic movement is nothing new, it started around the first half of the 20th century in response to the growing modern agricultural practices. These days, buying organic is largely a sign of “voting with your dollars” as you may have seen in various ads supporting and promoting sustainable agriculture. It’s true of course, and the difference in buying an organic bunch of kale goes much deeper than an added 50 cents to your grocery bill. In this article, we’ll explore 6 environmental benefits that result from organic farming.
Prevents Chemicals And Pesticides From Entering The Environment
Chemicals in the soil is a big problem with conventional farming, with 1 billion pounds of pesticides being used in the United States Alone each year. While some may argue that the use of pesticides increases the crop yield, are the 25 million agricultural workers worldwide being exposed to unintentional pesticide poisonings a healthy trade off? Pesticide use in the environment causes many negative reactions like disease resistance in plant eating insects, as well as crop erosion, and of course soil, water, and air contamination that hangs around for decades.
Encourages Healthy, Thriving Soil
Healthy soil is much like a healthy immune system. If you’re the type that constantly gets colds and immediately run to the drugstore for your instant Tylenol fix you may see an instant improvement, yes. But by doing this, you’re covering up the problem, you’re not giving your body a chance to improve on it’s own, and build up the strength to fight colds. Just like you should be looking to how your diet, and other stressors may be impacting your health negatively, so does the constant use of pesticides on soil not allow it to build up a natural resistance. In fact, according to American Microbiologist, Dr. Elaine Ingham, as many as 1 billion helpful bacteria from over 15,000 species are hosted in organic compost soil while the chemically treated soil only has… 100 helpful bacteria! Crazy right?!
Prevents Erosion And Builds Thicker Top Soil
In a study conducted started in 1948 of the “Long-term effects of organic and conventional farming on soil erosion,” it was found that energy sapping nature of conventional farming led to a both a decrease in soil productivity and environmental quality. On the other hand, soil on the same land, but cultivated organically, had a “significantly higher organic matter content, thicker topsoil depth, higher polysaccharide content, lower modulus of rupture and less soil erosion.” It’s easy to see why more farmers are becoming interested in the organic way of farming, not only to yield more nutritionally dense crops, but to give their land a better chance at survival for years to come.
Slows Effects Of Global Warming
The world keeps getting hotter and our excessive use of greenhouse gas is to blame. According to the almost 40 year Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial which compares traditional farming to organic farming, farming the organic way is a powerful way to reduce carbon dioxide and help contribute to reducing the acceleration of climate change. The research shows that “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.”
Helps Conserve And Keep Water Clean
One of the most pressing concerns in many parts of the world (America included) is poor water health and diminishing water supply. A big contributor to water pollution in the U.S specifically is the runoff waste from farms that use pesticides, animal waste, and toxic fertilizers. Sticking to organic farming means our water supply is fresher and not affected by any of this runoff. Organic farmers also tend to use less water seeing that they take their time tending to the soil and making use of mulch. Both of these practices help to keep water use low, especially in crops like cotton that typically require a lot of irrigation.