How does organic farming produce healthier food?
Healthy plants, animals and people depend on healthy soil.
Organic farming nurtures soil life
A gram of soil contains millions of micro-organisms too small to see, and some of them are now known to work with plants to help provide more nutrients. Research has shown that organically managed soil receiving compost and manure can have up to 85% more healthy soil life than that bombarded with chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
Organic farming returns nutrients to the soil
Plants remove up to 60 minerals from the soil but non-organic farmers usually replace only those necessary for plant growth - nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK). Over time this can lead to depletion of all the other minerals. Organic farmers use manures and composts containing a wide variety of minerals and not just NPK, so deficiencies are less likely to develop.
Organic farming rotates crops
Growing the same crops each year in the same soil can lead to depletion of the nutrients used by that crop, so organic farmers rotate their and include 'green manures' in the rotation - crops that fix nitrogen from the air into the soil, allow the soil to rest, and at the end of the season are ploughed back in. All this helps prevent the soil from becoming minerally depleted, so it can go on producing healthy crops.