Organic Farming - Key to Healthy Living
The concept of organic farming involves the use of biological substances, devoid of any synthetic ingredients, which would enhance crop cultivation and produce organically grown crops with better yield and crop management. This method also minimizes pollution and is highly effective in crop rotation, green manure, organic waste, biological pest control, mineral and rock additives (Rinkesh, 2016). Another important feature of organic farming is the avoidance of genetically modified crops which would greatly enhance the crop yield. Animals raised through organic farming are allowed to remain free and not bound.
Organic farming methods rivet the use of assured methodologies which are in accordance with nature, namely, the use of natural preservatives like salt, addition of manure in the form of cow dung and does not absorb the usage of chemical fertilizers. Therefore, it is a put into practice which is deemed to be protecting the environment and working in harmony with existing ecosystems, including conserving water, soil and energy, and using renewable resources and natural farming cycles (Sam, 2015).
Principle factors in organic farming
There are some basic principles followed in organic farming to produce more sustainable product and stress is laid on crop rotation.
1. Health benefits - By its very nature, organic farming is environmentally friendly and through its promotion of natural farming methods and usage of natural substances, it brings about health benefits to the end consumer in the form of pesticide free crops and natural, chemical-free nutritious food, which in turn would ensure good health.
2. Conserving nature - By the use of natural resources, organic farming helps in preserving the earth for the generations to come. By the bare minimum use of water and other natural reserves, conservation is the main factor to ensuring availability for the future.
3. Ecology management - In-depth knowledge of the basic eco-systems enables those practicing organic farming to manage the ecological balance of the surroundings, thus ensuring good climatic conditions and timely rainfall, which would benefit the crops.
4. Careful risk assessment - In contrast to modern -day farming technologies which does not involve the use of existing natural resources, the practice of organic farming consists of careful surveillance of risks involved in the use of pesticides not only for the crops but also for the soil. Through crop rotation, the fertility of soil is maintained to ensure cultivation throughout the year to minimize the risk of non-availability of crops.
5. Multiple crop cultivation - This technique was followed in organic farming which is helping in maintaining crop availability throughout the year as well as cultivation of seasonal crops, which would amplify availability of vegetables and fruits.
6. Cost factor - As organic farming involves manual removal of weeds and addition of organic fertilizers, the cost of organically grown food tends to be more than those grown with the usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Also it is more labor intensive operation.
Impact of the usage of pesticides and fertilizers
The category of people who are worst affected with the usage of chemical substances are the farm workers and consumers, especially children.
Farm workers are directly involved in the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They also live close by to the farm with direct impact of the chemicals on them. Organic agriculture does not exploit these toxic chemicals and thus get rid of this enormous health hazard to workers, their families, and their communities. Prolonged and increased exposure of farm workers to such situations has led to the development of cancer, endocrine disorders and reproductive dysfunction (Horrigan et al., 2002).
The consumers would acquire skin infections, cancers, residual fertilizers in their body and hormonal imbalances. The load of pesticides in their body would lead to kidney failure and other such problems.
In addition to the direct impact, the indirect impact of usage of fertilizers and pesticides would lead to production of excess crops which when used for feeding animals, would result in increase in their fat content. Such fatty food consumption has an impact on human health in the form of lifestyle disorders such as diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. This would, in turn, decrease the overall efficiency of the population in addition to affecting their lifestyle and activities.
Such conditions warrant the use of organic farming which would prevent not only the harmful effect of the usage of fertilizers but also enhance the conservation of natural top soil, which is deemed to be rich in nutrients, prevents water body contamination and thereby reduces poisoning of fish and other water creature like algae. The collision of lead poisoning from fish is also known to affect even the unborn babies, as the contaminated fish, when it is consumed by the pregnant mothers would not only affect them but also their babies.
Nutrient benefits of organic food
On the other hand, cultivating organic food has not only a positive impact on the natural resources, but also brings about utmost benefits for humanity in terms of availability of nutrients as well as prevention of diseases.
Research has shown that organic food is rich in vitamin C and selenium while it is low in nitrates. A study published by The Organic Center (2016) reveals that organic food is higher in certain key areas such as total antioxidant capacity, total polyphenols, and two key flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol, all of which are nutritionally significant.
Similar to 'go green campaign', it is of vital importance to switch over from pesticide and fertilizer farming to organic farming methods as they sustain good practices in agriculture, bring about benefits to human beings and animals as well as help in conserving our most essential natural resources in the form of soil and water management, crop rotation, greater crop availability as well as better nutrient composition of food we consume. Not only it reduces the burden of diseases but also induces appropriate consumption of nutrients which would produce a generation of healthy children. The health of children should be taken care of for a future generation which is healthy, wealthy and wise.