Organic Farming Hien Le and Skye Moya

What Is Organic Framing?

"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."

The quote from above is from IFOAM Organic International, and within the quote, it states the four Principles of Organic Farming.

Four Principles of Organic Farming

  1. The Principle of Health
  2. The Principle of Ecology
  3. The Principle of Fairness
  4. The Principle of Care

The Four Principles of Organic Farming are the building blocks, or the roots, of Organic Farming and how it grows and develops. These principles is how Organic Farming shows its contribution that it can make to the world.

The Principle of Health

This principle points out that the individual health and the health of the community cannot be separated from the health of ecosystems.

The Principle of Ecology

This principle points out that Organic Farming should be based off of ecological processes and recycling.

The Principle of Fairness

This principle points out that Organic Farming should be built on relationships that ensures fairness with regard to the environment and life opportunities.

The Principle of Care

This principle points out that Organic Farming should be cautiously managed in a responsible manner for the protection of the future generations' health and well-being, along with the environment.

Organic Farming Practices

There are four main farming practices within Organic Farming. They are:

  1. Crop Diversity
  2. Green Manure
  3. Biological Pest Control
  4. Compost

Crop Diversity

Crop Diversity is when farmers have multiple plants in the field. Having a diverse range of plants in the field can provide genetic differences, which can be passed onto later generations. With the plants producing new genetic patterns, which leads to new and different crops, organic farmers can develop new crop varieties in order to meet certain conditions. One of the benefits of having crop diversity is the protection of biodiversity. According to estimates done by studies, almost 1/2 of the world's species is facing extinction, and a majority of the species are related to common foods like, wheat, rice, maize (corn), beans, peas, etc. With the use of crop diversity, the species that were listed will be protected, and crop diversity may also promote the resistance to diseases and pests, which leads to less pesticide use. Another benefit would be the prevention of deforestation and clearing out land for the production of food.

Examples of Crop Diversity

Green Manure

Green manure is when farmers use specific plants/crops that can be planted and then be turned into the soil to improve the soil quality. Green manure crops are normally cut and then plowed into the soil, or just left on the ground for a period of time before tilling. Some crops that would be used in green manure would be grass mixtures and legume plants, the most common ones are: annual ryegrass, vetch, clover, peas, winter wheat, and alfalfa. The benefit to using the green manure technique would be that it provides additional nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Not only does green manure provide more nutrients to the soil, green manure can increase soil drainage and the water retention capabilities of the soil.

Example of Green Manure

Biological Pest Control

Biological pest control is the method of controlling pests, like insects, mites, weeds, and plant diseases by using other organisms instead of pesticides. This method is heavily reliant on predation, parasitism, herbivory, and other natural processes, but normally humans are also involved in biological pest control. There are three basic types of biological control strategies: importation, augmentation, and conservation. Importation is when a natural enemy of the pest is introduced in the hopes to achieve dominance over the pest. Augmentation is when natural enemies are bred and released to improve control over the pests. Conservation is when measures are taken in order to increase the number of natural enemies, for example, planting nectar-producing crops on the borders of rice fields. Even though this technique expels pests from the crops, biological pest control can affect biodiversity, because the introduced species will not only affect the pest's population, they can also affect the native species' populations.

Example of pests on a farmer's crop


Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as fertilizer, but the difference between the two is that compost feeds the soil and then fertilizer feeds the plants. Compost is normally composed of fruit and vegetable trimmings, old plants, leaves and grass clippings. An example of compost would be the look at the decomposition level of the eco-columns around the room. The benefits of having compost is that compost will energize the food web in the soil by providing more nutrients, like Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, for worms, crickets, bacteria, and fungi to feed on, and that in turn allows for the vegetables to get nutrients more efficiently. Compost also allows for plants to protect themselves from common diseases and it also helps the soil retains its moisture.

A list of items that can and cannot go into compost.

Pros and Cons

Even though organic farming may sound pleasing and environmentally friendly to some, there are cons to this farming method.


  1. High nutrition values: organic foods consists of very high nutritional content due to the fact that they do not contain any kind of modified ingredients compared to other food products
  2. Better tasting: organic food tastes better because the crops are given more time to develop and mature, along with the use of natural and environmentally friendly agricultural practices are the reasons why organic products taste better.
  3. Improved human health: organic products are the safest products for humans to eat in comparison to other food products. Not only are organic products high in nutrition values, they also contain lower levels of chemicals.
  4. Environmental sustainability: there has been research that says that organic farming can provide impressive mechanisms for advancing ecological harmony, biodiversity, and biological cycles.
  5. Food security: organically grown plants are more durable, have a higher resistance to pest and diseases, and are more drought tolerant, which can lead to a larger food supply and one that can also possibly last longer.
  6. Poison-free: organic farming does not use any kind of pesticides, so everything that is produced by organic farming is poison free.
  7. Lower input costs: organic farming doesn't involve the use of expensive agrochemicals (e.g. pesticides or fertilizers).
  8. Better soil conservation and management: organic farming relies on how the soil is naturally nourish by the use of compost and green manure. The other organic practices from above also improve soil fertility, structure, and water holding capacity in organic farming.


  1. Less productivity in the long run: even though organic farming promises improved and healthier produce, it will only be like that in the short term since machinery and chemicals are out of the picture. Over the long term, productivity advantages will diminish as the soil health and fertility will decline over time.
  2. Time consuming: requires large amounts of commitment, practice, and it's an uphill struggle to effectively grow crops organically.
  3. Skills: more skills are needed for organic farming in comparison to mechanical and chemical agriculture, since organic farming uses more natural processes to keep their crops safe and unharmed.
  4. More expensive: organic products are usually the pricier products on the market, and one of the reasons why is because organic farming is not fully supported as not many people knows the benefits that come from organic farming. It's also more expensive because of how most of the organic produce comes from smaller farms, and since most people do not normally get their produce from smaller farms, organic produce is not popular.

Organic Farming Around the World

Organic farming is practiced around the world, but the markets with the strongest sales are in North America and Europe. The highest number of producers of organic farming is in India. Then, the Falkland Islands has the highest share of land dedicated to organic farming.


Even though Africa has the second largest land area of any continent, Africa has the smallest distribution of organic farming, being only at 3%. As of 2014, Africa has 1.3 million hectares dedicated to organic farming. Most of Africa's organic farming is happening in the Eastern side, with Uganda having the largest organic area (231,157 hectares) and the largest number of organic producers (189,610), being only second to India's 650,000. The East African Community (Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania) makes up 35% of the African organic farming land. Organic farming in Africa is growing relatively slow and Africa also doesn't have the infrastructure in comparison to organic farming in North America and Europe.


In Asia, 2.9 million hectares are dedicated to organic farming, this is about 9% of the world's organic agricultural land. In China 1.6 million of the 2.9 million hectares belongs to them (4th largest area in the world), then India has about 1 million hectares. In 2009, China had 4,000 certified organic enterprises, most of them mainly focusing on exporting to the US, EU, and Japan, more than 10 other countries. The organic farming market in China began to grow steadily since 2000, and this is due to concerns over food safety with the Chinese consumers. In wealthier areas of China, demand for organic food has been increasing because of the concern that consumers have due to China being the world's largest user of pesticides and fertilizers.


In 2007, more than 200,00 organic farms managed 7.8 million hectares in Europe, and in the EU, 7.2 million hectares were organic farms. As of 2007, 24% of the world's organic land was in Europe. Italy has the largest organic area (1,150,253 hectares), Liechtenstein has the highest percentage of organic land (29%), and the amount of hectares being managed organically only continues to increase. In 2016, 27%, or 11.6 million hectares, of the global amount of land dedicated to organic farming was in Europe. In France, one of the countries with the largest market for organic products, the market has doubled in the span of six years, between 2007 and 2013.

North America

2.2 million hectares are managed organically in North America, which represents about 0.6% of the total agricultural area. Most of the organic land is in the US, about 1.6 million hectares in 2005. 7% of the world's organic agricultural land is in North America. There is a growing consumer demand for healthier and more nutritious food, which is leading to an increase in the North America market. In the US alone, the organic industry grew about 21% in sales in 2006, and was forecasted to grow another 18% each year on average between 2007 and 2010.

Some of the largest companies that are organic are: WhiteWave Foods, Hain Celestial Group, and General Mills. The buttons below lead to the company's website if you wish to know more information about the company.

Latin America and the Caribbean

In Latin America, 6.4 million hectares are organic farming land, which is 20% of world's organic land, in 2007. Argentina has 2,777,959 hectares of land for organic farming, and the Dominican Republic and Uruguay has the highest percentage of organic land at more than 6%. Most of the organic products produced in Latin America are for exports to other countries. Most of the organic food sales domestically occur in the major cities like Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and São Paulo.

Sources (There's a lot.)

Created By
Hien Le

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.