Organic farming is a method of agricultural production, based on respect for living organisms and natural cycles. It manages global production by focusing on agrosystems, as well as biodiversity, biological activities in soil, and biological cycles.
In order to fulfill these goals, organic farmers must respect specifications and rules, which exclude the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, and synthetic pesticides, as well as genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Farmers who practice this type of agriculture bet on rotating crops, green fertilizers, composting, biological control, the use of natural products like nettle manure, or the bacteria Bacillus Thuringiensis, and mechanical weeding, to maintain soil productivity as well as disease and pest control.
Defined in the 1920s, organic farming has been organized on a global scale since 1972 (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements – IFOAM) and recognized in the Codex Alimentarius since 1999. As such, it’s one of the oldest types of organized sustainable farming. Accordingly, the label of « organic » in « organic farming » means a certification has been obtained by following a certain set of practices and specifications, and the term « organic » is protected under many countries’ laws. Several international organic labels exist around the world.
Organic Farming Label
An Agriculture Biologique (Organic Farming) label is a certification of the production mode for produce grown through organic farming. Any company on the supply chain of organic produce can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, feed suppliers, distributors, and even restaurateurs.
The criteria for certification can vary from one country to another and from one label to another. They usually include a series of production standards for each phase : growth, stock and inventory management, transformation, packing and shipping. Here is a non exhaustive list of examples :
- no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, and other additives
- no GMOs
- no sterilization through radiation,
- growing is only permitted on soil that hasn’t received any chemical products for a certain period of time (usually 3 years or more)
- detailed reports of the production steps and sales (for auditing purposes)
- physical separation between products eligible for certification, and other products
- regular on site inspections
In some countries, the government rules the certification process, and the commercial use of the term « organic farming » is legally defined. Certified organic farmers are of course held to all other food safety standards as non organic farmers.
Learn more about organic farming:
Fédération Nationale d'Agriculture Biologique
Organisation de l'Agriculture Bio