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What does the term Organic Food and Organic Farming?

Organic food' refers to produce that has been grown without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals or genetically modified organisms. Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. This is a method of farming that works at grass root level preserving the reproductive and regenerative capacity of the soil, good plant nutrition, and sound soil management, produces nutritious food rich in vitality which has resistance to diseases. Organic farming practices promote biodiversity, enhance ecological balance and keep our earth in good health.

What are the benefits of Organic Food?

There is no doubt that eating organic food cuts the chemical and toxic load that you take into your body, as it comes to you without chemicals, growth hormones, additives, colourings and preservatives. Organic food is also usually fresher because, being Chemical-free and preservative-free, it is processed in smaller lots and has to be sent to the shops faster than conventional non-organic food. Scientists now know what we eaters have known all along: organic food often tastes better. It makes sense that strawberries, Watermelon taste yummier when raised in harmony with nature, but researchers at Washington State University just proved this as fact in lab taste trials where the organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter. Plus, new research verifies that some organic produce is often lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants than conventional food.

What are the environmental benefits of Organic agriculture?

Sustainability over the long term. Many changes observed in the environment are long term, occurring slowly over time. Organic agriculture considers the medium- and long-term effect of agricultural interventions on the agro-ecosystem. It aims to produce food while establishing an ecological balance to prevent soil fertility or pest problems. Organic agriculture takes a proactive approach as opposed to treating problems after they emerge.
Soil. Soil building practices such as crop rotations, inter-cropping, symbiotic associations, cover crops, organic fertilizers and minimum tillage are central to organic practices. These encourage soil fauna and flora, improving soil formation and structure and creating more stable systems.
Water. In many agriculture areas, pollution of groundwater courses with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is a major problem. As the use of these is prohibited in organic agriculture, they are replaced by organic fertilizers (e.g. compost, animal manure, green manure) and through the use of greater biodiversity (in terms of species cultivated and permanent vegetation), enhancing soil structure and water infiltration.
Air and climate change. Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs (these require high quantities of fossil fuel to be produced).
Biodiversity. Organic farmers are both custodians and users of biodiversity at all levels. At the gene level, traditional and adapted seeds and breeds are preferred for their greater resistance to diseases and their resilience to climatic stress.

How shall I trust it is really organic?

Look for certification logo on the product. for example Eco Cert, and NPOP's India Organic logo.
The Government of India has implemented the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP). The national programme involves the accreditation programme for certification bodies, norms for organic production, promotion of organic farming etc. In India, there are a handful of certifying agencies accredited by NPOP. Farmers and producers must register with one of these agencies, who will in turn verify whether NPOP standards have been met.
Live Organic sources Organic products from farmers which are certified as per NPOP standards.

Why does Organic Food cost more?

Certified organic products are generally more expensive than their conventional counterparts (for which prices have been declining) for a number of reasons:
Organic food supply is limited as compared to demand;
Production costs for organic foods are typically higher because of greater labour inputs per unit of output and because greater diversity of enterprises means economies of scale cannot be achieved;
Post-harvest handling of relatively small quantities of organic foods results in higher costs because of the mandatory segregation of organic and conventional produce, especially for processing and transportation;
Marketing and the distribution chain for organic products is relatively inefficient and costs are higher because of relatively small volumes. As demand for organic food and products is increasing, technological innovations and economies of scale should reduce costs of production, processing, distribution and marketing for organic produce. Prices of organic foods include not only the cost of the food production itself, but also a range of other factors that are not captured in the price of conventional food, such as:
Environmental enhancement and protection (and avoidance of future expenses to mitigate pollution). For example, higher prices of organic cash crops compensate for low financial returns of rotational periods which are necessary to build soil fertility;

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