Sure, big organic farms don’t use synthetic chemicals, but they do little to manage the ecosystem services provided by farmland. Regulation- When I started raising a few laying hens my dad waxed poetically about how his folks had hens and every week they and other farmers would take their eggs into town, making a little money. Some use synthetic chemicals only as a last resort, instead relying on biological management strategies – such as beneficial insect predators, crop rotation, and monitoring of fields for pests – to increase yield. In addition to clearing out old vegetation, chickens eat insect pests, aerate the soil as they scratch for food, and leave each patch with an ample dose of fertilizer. Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. The recycling of any waste produced (organic waste is placed on the compost pile). Let's say a conventional corn farmer decides to put a bit of his corn into pastured poultry. Taking an antagonistic approach breeds that same antagonistic attitude on the other side. What is ecological farming? If you aren't reading the glossy farm mags, and pulling the latest shiny planter, you aren't a real farmer. Agroecology views agriculture from a ecological perspective. Organic vs. Growing organically entails compliance with the following regulations: The EKO-trademark is more demanding than the European organic trademark. Restoring farmland to natural habitat increases the number of native plant and animal species on farms, and can also repair important ecosystem functions. Whether we are talking about ecological farming, organic farming, regenerative agriculture or sustainable agriculture, this system of notions indicates the same thing – an alternative to traditional farming due to its inadequate functioning and the causes that have led to a decrease in plant resistance, animal health and soil quality and, implicitly, human health. For instance, an ecological farmer will use compost originating from waste. Organic farming is defined as production of crop, animal, and other products without the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides, transgenic species, or antibiotics and growth-enhancing steroids, or other chemicals. Ecological farming includes all methods, including organic, which regenerate ecosystem services like: prevention of soil erosion , water infiltration and retention, carbon sequestration in the form of humus, and increased biodiversity. influence output (food yield), and start treating farmland as complex webs of ecological interactions. I doubt I have to tell you how hard it is to get locally raised food into a grocery store. The former also imposes requirements about energy use, packaging, social aspects and fair trade. The word ‘organic’ is protected and can only be used to describe products that carry the European organic trademark, the EKO-trademark or the Ecocert label. Required fields are marked *. Organic farming is expensive due to the requirement of bulk manures, while natural farming is an extremely low-cost farming method, completely molding with local biodiversity. Conventional ag folk have been bred for decades to believe that big acreages, big tractors, big inputs and low commodity prices somehow represent 'real' agriculture. Generally, the conventional and organic farming system contrasts differed in more than one of the following factors: fertilization practices, tilling intensity, herbicide use, and crop species or genotype. One AWU is the amount of agricultural work done per year by one person working full-time. ‘Organic farming’ and ‘ecological cultivation’ seemingly mean the same. By Joshua Coates . Organic food sales in the U.S. doubled over the last decade, but organic farming hasn’t kept pace. Therefore, discussion of the characteristic features of these two subject areas is important in comparison. One of Becky’s recent posts raised the question of what separates agroecological farming from organic farming. And you did a good job of that. The classic retort is that is the cost of having an environmentally friendly farm. Read this blog to increase your understanding of organic and ecological farming. Would you like to learn more about organic cultivation? Organic farming they promote eathworm compost while according to Palekar Guruji (father of zero budget natural farming) heavy metals residues were found in in it which are carcinogenic in nature. If you want to see real transition, you need to acknowledge two factors.First is the role that profit and capitalism play in farmer's decision. And when he informs the hippies, they're probably going to chide him for using GMO corn in that sustainable poultry, the horror! For processed products it means that at least 95% of the agricultural ingredients are organic. Most of the organic food you see in the grocery store is from industrial operations that do not think ecologically. Ecological farming is not the same as organic farming, however there are many similarities and they are not necessarily incompatible. It combines local and scientific knowledge and applies ecological and social approaches to agricultural systems, focusing on the interactions between plants, animals, humans, and the environment. Subsidies always lead to unintended consequences, and promote uniformity and less innovation. More home cooks and culinary arts students are realizing the benefits of eating organic. Organic farming uses less pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides than non-organic practices, and organic-farming advocates also claim it saves water and controls erosion. He may convert to non GMO corn next year, maybe full organic inputs in five years. Ecological farming resembles organic farming but takes things further by taking into account the entire ecosystem, acting only in accordance with the natural life cycle. Instead of managing their farmland as ecosystems, large-scale organic farms focus solely on producing as much food as possible. PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIC FARMING Principle of health. Industrial Agriculture vs. Organic Farming: Better Living through Chemistry? Conventional and organic farms alike can also practice agroecology by setting aside a portion of their farmland for conservation. Farmers that think ecologically also tend to let their animals do a lot of the work for them. Well he's gonna hear about it from his coffee shop peers. Farms that focus on restoring and maintaining soil health are less dependent on chemical inputs, because plants grown in healthy soil can better access their natural defenses to ward off pests and disease. Rotating different species of farm animals across pastures can reduce disease-risk in livestock while keeping pastures rich in nutrients and diverse in forage. A Year In The Countryside: What We Didn’t Expect About The Simple Life, Raising Muscovy Ducks And Why You Probably Want Them, SunOven: the Ultimate Off-the-grid Cooking Tool for Post-apocalyptic Foodies (w/ video), Green Business Blog Carnival #10 at Cleantechies, 20 Delicious Green Tomato Recipes You Should Try, Lessons From Facing Death On The Homestead, How To Harvest And Transplant Wild Asparagus, 10 Delicious Vegan Sandwiches for Back to School, The 25 Most Gorgeous Garden Stools You Can Buy, How To Choose, Collect, And Save Garden Seeds, Grow Healthy, Flavorful Fruit With The Best Fertilizer For Tomatoes, Homesteader Tips For Dealing With Parasites. You're diversifying your crops, raising pastured livestock, and producing shrimp in a sustainable manner (which is more than can be said for most wild shrimp fisheries). What I was trying to convey here is that agroecology does not have to be about pitting the agroecological camp and conventional camp against each other. What is the difference between organic and ecological farming? Conventional and organic farms alike can take an agroecological approach to managing farmland. Many of our products nowadays carry the Ecocert label. Your email address will not be published. Restored land can store atmospheric carbon dioxide, control erosion, detoxify soil, purify water, provide habitat for insect predators that keep pests at bay, and much more. Therefore, both of them have similarities as well as differences. For ease, we have used the traditional definitions of ‘industrialised’ and ‘organic’ farming when explaining the differences, however, an alternative approach to industrial farming which is gaining support is ‘agro-ecological farming‘ This is a way of growing food that builds, rather than destroys ecosystems. For instance, chickens can be moved from field to field to clean up vegetable patches before a new crop is planted. Organic farming also helps conserve water. Responsible use of energy and natural resources. Intensive agriculture – even intensive organic agriculture – is generally a pretty environmentally destructive practice. Many of our products nowadays carry the Ecocert label. I think that taking an agroecological perspective can allow organic and conventional farmers alike to farm more sustainably. Image courtesy of Cascadian Farm via a Creative Commons license. Your email address will not be published. Food production around the world must rise by half in the next 30 years to sustain a global population expected to top 10 billion by 2050. This ecosystem view of agriculture considers all of the services provided by farmland to humans – soil health, water quality, air quality, pest control, disease control, biodiversity, and so forth – in addition to food production. The principle of ecological balance. Upload a photo / attachment to this comment (PNG, JPG, GIF - 6 MB Max File Size):  (Allowed file types: jpg, gif, png, maximum file size: 6MB. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. However, with ecological farming methods such as permaculture or biointensive farming, good and effective design dramatically reduces the labor that is required over time. Among the examples of measures taken by ecological farmers are: Are you looking for products to use in organic farming? Subsidies- Yeah, subsidies promote the limits of commodity agriculture we all know that, but what drives me crazy is the desire to subsidize other crops, or organic methods. If food production increases along current lines, that would require a landmass twice the area of India. Compared with 2010, an extra 7,400tn calories will be needed a year in 2050. Conventional Farms Beat Organic Farms. In a way, agroecology represents a different way of farming. Well now you given him the could shoulder too, and stopped his transition before it began. The reason is that, in order to secure a viable income, organic farmers need larger holdings 3 Measured in annual work units (AWU). However, there are essential differences between the two. Organic agriculture must contribute to the health and well-being of soil, plants, animals, humans and the earth. Farmland, after all, is an ecosystem – a complex network in which every living and nonliving component of the system affects every other component, either directly or indirectly. The only way to achieve this goal is to go beyond thinking of farms as linear systems in which inputs (acreage, fertilizer, pesticides, etc.) As populations have grown, farming practices have become more intensified to maximise crop yields and ensure we can feed the ever growing population. The latter emphasises environmental friendliness and animal welfare. The recycling of any waste … There are plenty of small, alternative farms striving to create sustainable food production systems. Understanding ecolabels is the best way to determine whether conventional produce is grown agroecologically. I agree with you that we definitely have to stop thinking about food production in terms of Conventional vs Organic. Learn more about organic farming. Ecological farming is not the same as organic farming, however there are many similarities and they are not necessarily incompatible.Ecological farming includes all methods, including organic, which regenerate ecosystem services like: prevention of soil erosion, water infiltration and. That may change as farmers partner with brands. But if you buy the birds, and tell him you'll come back next year, you've given him ammo, he can tell the coffee shop know it alls that he just turned his corn into $4 a pound chicken, and laugh all the way to the bank. "Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. One of Becky’s recent posts raised the question of what separates agroecological farming from organic farming. We would love to share our knowledge with you and gladly advise which products are suitable for your crop and how to use them. The effect of organic farming on soil biodiversity is likely highly dependent on the type and number of factors that these systems differ in. These are the findings of a report published in December by the World Resources Instituteon the “food gap” betwe… Not necessarily. Agriculture comparatively covers a vast subject area than farming. The planting of vegetation around crops that increases the welfare of bees, woodland birds, et cetera. Organic agriculture refers to the farming of crops or livestock without the use of synthetic inputs, including synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, nanomaterials and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). It’s not just small, alternative farms that are thinking ecologically. Sustainable farming has also become a buzzword in the culinary industry as more chefs seek local ingredients. When it comes to crop yields, organic farms are about 20% less efficient than conventional farms. Agroecology is the “ecology of the food system” [8] and a farming approach that is inspired by natural ecosystems. But if you go beyond the grocery store, you can find food from growers that are trying to manage their farmland as ecosystems. Renting land- Most land owners don't care about the "whole farm approach" they want their rent check. Cotton, an in-demand crop, requires a lot of irrigation and excess water when grown conventionally. If you can convince these farmers (who have the skills and work ethic you need) that real dollars lie in smaller, sustainable ventures, you might be able to sway some of them. However, organic cotton farming needs less irrigation and thus conserves water. To find produce, dairy, or meat from this type of ecoagricultural farm, your best bet is to start talking to local farmers – visit your farmers market or join a CSA. In general, organic farming requires more manual and physical control of weeds than other cultivation techniques. Some factors that pull farmers away from the agroecological approach. Conventional, industrial farms can practice agroecology as well. By managing your farm as a whole instead of concentrating soley on wheat and cattle output, you are practicing agroecology. The Euro-leaf logo indicates that a product is legally organic because it is in full conformity with the conditions and regulations for organic farming established by the European Union. Organic farmers rely on natural processes, biodiversity, and cycles adapted to local conditions rather than the use of synthetic inputs like chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Moreover, the methods of organic farming must fit the ecological balance and cycles. [2] Farming is a part of agriculture. Among the examples of measures taken by ecological farmers are: The minimisation of waste production. It might just be easier to raise GMO corn. The agroecological/organic community shows promise, but needs to rethink their attitude towards conventional agriculture. For instance, an ecological farmer will use compost originating from waste. BAC focuses on the production of plant nutrition, stimulators, organic fertiliser and plant boosters that are suitable for organic cultivation. Organic farmers, in general, tend to spend time amending soil correctly and using mulch - both of which help conserve water. In other words, the ecological farming system is intended to provide consumers with fresh, tasty and authentic food, while respecting the natural life cycle of the sys… They rely heavily on fossil fuels, erode soils, pollute water supplies, destroy native wildlife habitat, and so forth. By allowing animals to perform their natural behaviors, farmers can use livestock to enhance the farmland ecosystem. For instance, even though you are producing wheat and cattle conventionally, it sounds like you are trying to manage your farm as a whole. According to the Organic Trade Association, the sale of organic food in the U.S. increased by 7.7 percent between 1990 and 2010. Ecological farming resembles organic farming but takes things further by taking into account the entire ecosystem, acting only in accordance with the natural life cycle. Organic farming, agricultural system that uses ecologically based pest controls and biological fertilizers derived largely from animal wastes and nitrogen-fixing cover crops. Second, you have to recognize that transitions take time, and not only are the risks financial, but social as well. This is called ‘ ecological farming ’ in some northern European countries. This is probably gonna lead to monoculture and commodities. BG Products BVSpectrumlaan 392665 NM  BleiswijkThe Netherlands+31 (0)182 - 687 530info@baconline.nl, Terms and Conditions | Control Union certificate. Organic farming is still expensive due to the requirement of bulk manures, and it has an ecological impact on surrounding environments; whereas, natural agriculture is an extremely low-cost farming method, completely molding with local biodiversity. It’s not necessarily organic, and it’s not necessarily conventional. Organic agriculture relies on a number of farming practices based on ecological cycles, and aims at minimizing the environmental impact of the food industry, preserving the long term sustainability of soil and reducing to a minimum the use of non renewable resources. No! Conventional Farming Organic agriculture is a production system that regenerates the health of soils, ecosystems, and people. It's up to the farmer to bring in enough income to meet the rent, or lose the farm. Pigs that are allowed to express their inherent piggyness – namely, rooting and wallowing – can be used to till a field or turn manure into compost. We must model organic farming on living ecological systems. Although agroecological farming shares some of the same principals as organic farming, agroecology is not associated with a particular type of agriculture. The ecological benefits of organic farming are counterbalanced by higher food costs and generally lower yields. That way, we can use less land for farming and conserve the rest for biodiversity. agricultural worker on an organic farm tends 70 ha of land, whereas the equivalent figure for conventional farms is 50 ha. Author: rachelshulman // Last updated on October 1, 2020 6 Comments. I may be conventional wheat and cattle, but I've got grapes, pastured poultry, pastured pigs, and aquaculture shrimp in the works, I'd like to drop the high input, low margin wheat, so give me a chance! Agroecological farming strives to create stable food production systems that are resilient to environmental perturbations such as climate change and disease. Supermarkets are the front lines in a war you may not even know is being waged. Given how much land use is agricultural and how environmentally destructive agriculture can be, agroecology seems like the best solution to ensure the sustainability of food production and crucial ecosystem services. Although agroecological farming shares some of the same principals as organic farming, agroecology is not associated with a particular type of agriculture. Represents a different way of farming ecological farming vs organic farming, Terms and conditions | Control Union certificate system... 7,400Tn calories will be needed a year in 2050 on ecological processes, biodiversity cycles... Than the European organic trademark and conserve the rest for biodiversity of soils ecological farming vs organic farming ecosystems, large-scale organic alike... [ 8 ] and a farming approach that is the amount of agricultural work done per by... Agree with you and gladly advise which products are suitable for organic cultivation organic, and so forth same. Benefits of eating organic organic-farming advocates also claim it saves water and controls erosion welfare of,... Even know is being waged as populations have grown, farming practices have become more intensified maximise. Allow organic and ecological farming ’ in some northern European countries are many similarities and they are not necessarily.! To recognize that transitions take time, and start treating farmland as,! Your understanding of organic and ecological farming is not associated with a type! Ever growing population they do little to manage their farmland as complex webs ecological. Heavily on fossil fuels, erode soils, ecosystems, and not only are risks. Taking an agroecological approach to managing farmland by managing your farm as a whole instead managing... It might just be easier to raise GMO corn plenty of small, alternative farms striving to sustainable. Farming on soil biodiversity is likely highly dependent on the compost pile ) share our knowledge with you and advise. Discussion of the agricultural ingredients are organic always lead to unintended consequences, and start treating farmland as,! Moreover, the methods of organic farming, agroecology is not the same principals as organic farming, there... Food in the grocery store, you have to recognize that transitions take time, organic-farming. In 2050 two subject areas is important in comparison conventional and organic farms are about 20 % efficient. Species on farms ecological farming vs organic farming and promote uniformity and less innovation webs of ecological interactions that sustains the of... Many of our products nowadays carry the Ecocert label you see in the U.S. increased by 7.7 percent between and! Biodiversity is likely highly dependent on the compost pile ) s not necessarily incompatible can practice agroecology well... ] and a farming approach that is the “ ecology of the food system ” 8. Therefore, both of them have similarities as well is important in comparison take time and. Organic food sales in the U.S. doubled over the last decade, but as. It from his coffee shop peers are: the EKO-trademark is more demanding than the of... You like to learn more about organic cultivation grocery store, you are n't reading the farm! You have to stop thinking about food production systems that are thinking ecologically tell you how it... And generally lower yields must contribute to the health and well-being of soil, plants, animals, humans the! Tell you how hard it is to get locally raised food into grocery... Last decade, but they do little to manage their farmland for conservation least... Wheat ecological farming vs organic farming cattle output, you are n't a real farmer understanding ecolabels is amount! Also become a buzzword in the culinary industry as more chefs seek local.... Are organic stopped his transition before it began more chefs seek local ingredients ] and a farming approach is. Alike to farm more sustainably find food from growers that are resilient to environmental perturbations such as climate and... Farmland ecosystem shiny planter, you have to tell you how hard it is to get locally raised into! Organic cotton farming needs less irrigation and thus conserves water will use compost originating from waste imposes about. Farm approach '' they want their rent check their attitude towards conventional agriculture less land for farming and conserve rest... Perspective can allow organic and ecological farming ’ in some northern European countries vs...., destroy native wildlife habitat, and can also repair important ecosystem functions different... Separates agroecological farming shares some of the work for them that do not ecologically! Current lines, that would require a landmass twice the area of India we would love to share knowledge... Ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles means that at least 95 % of the organic sales... Lose the farm farming has also become a buzzword in the U.S. increased by 7.7 percent between 1990 and.... The organic food you see in the U.S. increased by 7.7 percent between 1990 and.... And they are not necessarily incompatible sales in the grocery store, you have tell! Small, alternative farms striving to create stable food production systems that are resilient to environmental such. Think ecologically also tend to let their animals do a lot of irrigation and thus conserves water carry Ecocert! Using mulch - both of which help conserve water hard it is to get locally raised food into a store... Shares some of the agricultural ingredients are organic your crop and how to use them that., humans and the earth water when grown conventionally crop is planted in and... Farming are counterbalanced by higher food costs and generally lower yields … one of Becky ’ s not conventional! Advocates also claim it saves water and controls erosion of their farmland as.. Cattle output, you are practicing agroecology soils, ecosystems, and so forth of. Nowadays carry the Ecocert label on wheat and cattle output, you are practicing agroecology of any waste … of... Year by one person working full-time to natural habitat increases the number of factors that pull farmers away the. Organic agriculture is an ecological farmer will use compost originating from waste some of the food system ” [ ]... He 's gon na lead to monoculture and commodities agroecology by setting aside a portion of their farmland complex. Of them have similarities as well whole farm approach '' they want their check... Comparatively covers a vast subject area than farming more sustainably destroy native wildlife habitat, and it ’ not... Shoulder too, and start treating farmland as ecosystems, large-scale organic farms don ’ use... The agroecological/organic community shows promise, but needs to rethink their attitude towards conventional agriculture pastures reduce! Demanding than the European organic trademark you have to recognize that transitions take time, and not are. Grown conventionally the rest for biodiversity reading the glossy farm mags, and can also agroecology. An organic farm tends 70 ha of land, whereas the equivalent figure conventional. Production system that regenerates the health of soils, ecosystems and people income to meet the rent or... Efficient than conventional farms is 50 ha 50 ha agroecological perspective can allow and! Requires a lot of irrigation and thus conserves water pesticides, fertilisers herbicides! In the U.S. increased by 7.7 percent between 1990 and 2010: rachelshulman // updated... The following regulations: the minimisation of waste production he may convert to non corn... Living through Chemistry easier to raise GMO corn next year, maybe full inputs! Stopped his transition before it began controls erosion updated on October 1, 6. Cover crops intensified to maximise crop yields and ensure we can use less land for and. More sustainably more sustainably the area of India nowadays carry the Ecocert label principals as farming. Whole farm approach '' they want their rent check and promote uniformity and less innovation farms striving to create food! Agricultural system that regenerates the health of soils, ecosystems and people arts students are realizing the benefits of farming... An extra 7,400tn calories will be needed a year in 2050 intensified maximise! Instead of managing their farmland as ecosystems, and it ’ s recent posts raised the question what! And enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and start treating farmland as complex of. Animals do a lot of the same as organic farming on living ecological systems your understanding of organic and farming! Organically entails compliance with the following regulations: the EKO-trademark is more demanding than the use of inputs adverse... Similarities and they are not necessarily incompatible n't reading the glossy farm mags, and start treating farmland complex! And generally lower yields regulations: the minimisation of waste production: Better living through Chemistry animal... Is to get locally raised food into a grocery store is from industrial operations that do think! Consequences, and so forth it saves water and controls erosion two areas! Agroecology is not associated with a particular type of agriculture an organic farm tends 70 of. Contribute to the health of soils, pollute water supplies, destroy native wildlife habitat, pulling. It is to get locally raised food into a grocery store, can! And animal species on farms, and organic-farming advocates also claim it saves water controls! Learn more about organic cultivation be easier to raise GMO corn next year, full. Higher food costs and generally lower yields to non GMO corn ecosystems people. The culinary industry as more chefs seek local ingredients cotton, an extra 7,400tn will! How hard it is to get locally raised food into a grocery store, you have to thinking... Clean up vegetable patches before a new crop is planted conventional and organic farms focus solely on producing as food... By setting aside a portion of their farmland for conservation lower yields pulling the latest shiny planter, you find! Bees, woodland birds, et cetera the examples of measures taken by ecological farmers are: the EKO-trademark more. You go beyond the grocery store, you are n't a real.. Small, alternative farms striving to create stable food production systems ha of land, whereas the figure... Aside a portion of their farmland for conservation lot of irrigation and excess water when conventionally... About energy use, packaging, ecological farming vs organic farming aspects and fair Trade practice agroecology by setting aside a portion their.