Have you ever thought about how your food gets to your plate? It’s a process that requires numerous steps, from soil cultivation to product distribution and everything in between. Unfortunately, modern agriculture practices contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as water pollution, reduced biodiversity and other environmental issues.
But through organic farming, we may be able to find a better way to supply the world with food. It’s not the perfect system, but we can avoid repercussions as a result. Take a look.
1. Less Pesticide and Herbicide Use
Traditionally, farming practices rely on pesticides and herbicides to manage crops. These products reduce weed growth and eliminate crop-eating pests. However, synthetic pesticides and herbicides contain harmful chemicals that negatively impact the planet through soil erosion, disease resistance and water and air pollution.
Keep in mind that organic farming still requires pesticides and herbicides. However, they’re natural alternatives with various standards approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This point doesn’t mean the products are always better than synthetics, but they usually impact the environment less. That’s still progress!
2. Healthier Soil for Crops
If you want to grow organic food, you must start with soil so the plants have a nutritious base. This resource needs preservation — and research has found that conventional farming methods erode soil at excessively high rates. Fortunately, organic agriculture relies on techniques like cover crops and contour farming to prevent soil erosion.
Additionally, organic farms typically use compost fertilizer to assist crop growth. This product comes from a process that breaks down organic matter like grass, manure and food scraps. It’s an entirely natural way to support plant growth. Plus, compost helps mitigate waste, as you don’t throw your materials in the trash. Instead, they end up right back in the ground to support the next crop.
These practices effectively create soil that grows fruits and vegetables people can eat to lead more wholesome lives, which tends to be the main goal in organic farming. Through soil conservation, we can ensure that everyone everywhere always has access to healthy foods. That’s especially important as the world’s population continues to expand at high rates.
3. Increased Water Conservation
Unfortunately, traditional farming uses thousands of gallons of water to support livestock and crops. These irrigation systems are the most significant freshwater users in the world. Because water isn’t an unlimited resource, we need to prioritize conservation so we don’t use more than necessary. Scarcity remains a concern around the globe, even in countries like the U.S.
That’s where organic farming can be effective. This type of agriculture certainly still requires water — but unlike conventional methods, organic farming prioritizes soil cultivation in ways that don’t need the resource in high amounts. Further, organic agriculture uses natural pesticides and herbicides, which means water pollution isn’t as prominent.
While we can’t farm without water, we still need to find ways to reduce our consumption. If we want to ensure everyone has access to clean water around the world, we have to be mindful. That’s what most organic farms intend, which makes them better for both humans and the planet.
4. Wildlife Habitat Protection
Growers who work on organic farms tend to make wildlife protection a must, as well. There are actually benefits in habitat conservation for farming specifically. If you keep predators around farms, you’ll have a natural way to avoid pests. Then, you don’t have to rely on chemicals.
Many organic farmers realize that biodiversity matters for the environment. After all, we wouldn’t be able to live on the Earth without such ecosystems. These animals make the planet habitable, so their survival matters. Because organic farms often serve as safer, healthier environments for creature habitats, they make a difference in wildlife conservation.
5. Improved Carbon Sequestration
Did you know you can store carbon in soil? Because traditional farms contribute to carbon emissions at high levels, experts have looked for ways to eliminate excess greenhouse gases in agriculture. That’s where carbon sequestration comes into play.
It turns out that organic farms have 26% more potential for carbon sequestration than conventional systems. That’s mainly since they use practices like crop rotation and compost fertilizer that keep soil as healthy as possible. These methods create the ideal space for carbon storage, which has become a key process in carbon emissions reduction.
Overall, organic farming presents the perfect way to mitigate the related carbon emissions.
Organic Farming Grows Food That’s Better for the Planet
Ultimately, farmers and consumers make better choices for the environment when they choose organic. It’s certainly not a perfect solution for climate change — but we can safely say most organic practices are more sustainable than conventional farming methods. Therefore, while we have room for improvement, we should aim to help the planet in any way possible, and that includes support for organic agriculture.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief of Momish Magazine and believes in science, that climate change is real, and is doing her part to keep Mother Earth healthy for the future of her four kids.