African Organics

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WHAT IS “ORGANIC”?

The term “organic” could refer to many things: Organic chemistry, organic computing, organic growth in business, and so on. But whenever we talk about organic food, it will have the same meaning:  It refers to something that is produced as a result of organic agriculture.  The term “organic” relates to “organism” – a farm and production system is seen as a complete organism, and is managed by taking in account the principles of soil health, biodiversity, sustainability and, most of all, care for people and the planet.

Many other words are used to describe organic agriculture:  depending on the culture and language, the terms “ecological” and “biological” are used as synonyms for “organic”.  It is, in the final analysis, about the practice of an ecologically sound system, rather than the use of the correct word.

"Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people.

It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects.

Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.”

Definition -The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)

Organic agriculture is often described in the negative: Farming without synthetic fertilisers, without pesticides, without unacceptable agro-chemical inputs. This negative description falls short of the mark: organic agriculture is a positive management system, utilising innovation and traditions, finding planet-friendly solutions to problems encountered with chemical input, and carefully managing soil fertility to produce healthy, quality products.

It is much better to describe what we are doing as organic farmers, rather than what we are not.  It is also counterproductive to criticise conventional “chemical” farmers for what they are doing or not.

All farmers are farming for similar reasons:  growing and producing food, making a living and providing some measure of food security to their community.  The way forward in the new millennium is to convince the farming industry that organic agriculture is a partner in finding positive solutions to the world’s agricultural challenges, and not an adversary!

WHY SHOULD WE GROW, EAT AND BUY ORGANIC?

Organic agriculture relies on a production system that is cyclical and ecological in nature.  It relies on principles that are sustainable and environmentally friendly.  It prohibits the use of chemicals that could be harmful and poisonous.  It utilises processes that are sensitive to the needs of people and the planet.  These are not idealist, “fringe” concepts any longer.  It is generally agreed that our planet is in crisis – climate change, global warming, food insecurity and pollution are all problems that have become priorities for us and our planet.  Organic agriculture is no longer the reserve of a few “crazies”; it is one of the solutions to many of the current ills of our planet.

Conventional industry and agriculture is heavily reliant on fossil fuel inputs, and a mechanised and linear production system.  It is, in the final analysis, not sustainable.  It consumes resources that cannot be renewed, and creates fallout and pollution that further damages our planet.  The solutions to these challenges are not always perfect, and the effects of new technology replacing the old are still unknown, but one thing is clear:  We cannot continue the way that we have for decades.

Organic agriculture, based on the principles stated above, is part of the solution and - if adopted by more people – could become one of the premier answers to challenges such as food insecurity, loss of biodiversity in our system, pollution and disease.

 By producing, eating and buying organic, we become part of the solution!

 And by joining a network whose aims are to promote these principles on all levels, we can make a difference.

Whether you join PGS South Africa or any other consumer group, is up to you.

Our appeal is for you to become involved with your food, your environment and your planet today!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 07:06  

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