Organic Food  - Organic Foods and Natural Products
Organic Food Organic products at home, garden, farming and crops
What is Organic Food?
Organic food is, a food produced without the use of artificial pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and in many definitions genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The word organic can apply equally to store-bought food products, food from a home garden where no synthetic inputs are used, and even food gathered or hunted in the wild. However, the term organic is increasingly associated with certified organic foods, which are produced and labeled according to strictly regulated standards.
Countries like United States, Japan and the European Union, use a certification is a matter of legislation, and commercial use of the word organic , outside of the certification framework, is illegal. The specifics of certification are the subject of wide debate and disagreement among organic producers and consumers; at present, there is no universally accepted definition of organic food .
Organic food. Fruit and vegetables grown organically appear similar to conventionally grown produce. However, organic food usually meets stringent production standards, which specify growing and processing conditions over and above normal agricultural and food safety requirements.
Organic Food Benefits
Types of organic food
Organic farming for information on the production of organic food.
Organic foods can be either fresh or processed , based on production methods, availability and consumer perception.
Fresh food - is seasonal and perishable. Fresh produce — vegetables and fruits — is the most available type of organic food, and is closely associated with organic farming. It is often purchased directly from growers, at farmers' markets, from on-farm stands, through speciality food stores, and through community-supported agriculture (CSA) projects. Unprocessed animal products — organic meat, eggs, dairy — are less common. Prices are significantly higher than for conventional food, and availability is lower.
For fresh food, "organic" usually means produced without extensive use of synthetic chemicals (eg: fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones), substantially free of genetically modified organisms, and often, but not necessarily, locally grown.
Processed food - accounts for most of the items in a supermarket. Little of it is organic, and organic prices are often high. Despite this, organic processed products are now mainly purchased from supermarkets. Most processed organics comes from large food conglomerates, as producing and marketing products like canned goods, frozen vegetables, prepared dishes and other convenience foods is beyond the scope of small organic producers.
Processed organic food usually contains only (or at least a certain specified percentage of) organic ingredients and no artificial food additives, and is often processed with fewer artificial methods, materials and conditions (eg: no chemical ripening, no food irradiation). However, a recent amendment to the US organic legislation has allowed some synthetic processing agents to be classified as "organic", so the exact composition of certified organic processed food may vary according to regional regulations.
Identifying organic food -  - The National Organic Program (run by the USDA) is in charge of the legal definition of organic and does organic certification. It administers the Organic Seal to products and producers that meet strict requirements.
Legal definition - The official seal of USDA certified organic foods.
In the United States, agricultural products that claim to be "organic" must adhere to the requirements of the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 (found in 7 U.S.C.A. § 6501-22) and the regulations (found in 7 C.F.R. Part 205) promulgated by the USDA through the National Organic Program ("NOP") under this act. These laws essentially require that any product that claims to be organic must have been manufactured and handled according to specific NOP requirements. A USDA Organic seal identifies products with at least 95% organic ingredients, as defined by the National Organic Program.
Environmental impact - Every food purchase supports the system that delivers it, and if large-scale chemical production methods are damaging to the environment, then purchasing these foods supports this damage. A main goal of organic farming is minimizing impact to the environment.
Sustainability - Proponents of organic farming say that "conventional" farming is unsustainable, because it relies on artificial inputs (synthetic fertilizers and other chemicals, machinery, etc.) that ultimately requires energy in the form of fossil fuels, and because the land is degraded through soil erosion, salinization, and other processes that eventually render the soil infertile. Many claim that without cheap fossil fuels and government subsidies, conventional agriculture would not be possible, and that despite technological advancements, there will eventually be an agricultural crisis as a result of depleted soil. The cultivation of monocultures, many acres planted with the same crop year after year, increases susceptibility to pests and diseases and depletes the soil, while eliminating most native flora and fauna.
In contrast, organic farming often utilizes intercropping, crop rotation, fallow periods, and integrated pest management to promote biodiversity and preserve the health of the soil while minimizing the risk of diseases. The main goal of organic farming is sustainability, so organic farms seek to minimize dependance on outside resources and be self-sufficient.
Pollution - Modern agricultural practices often result in large amounts of nitrogen runoff from the heavy use of fertilizer, which pollutes watersheds. In addition to posing a threat to human health and disrupting aquatic ecosystems, this sometimes results in algal blooms which deplete the water of oxygen resulting in fishkills. Pesticide runoff also causes many problems.
Delivery and Transportation
Claims that eating organic food is better for the environment are, however, frustrated by the fact that most of the organic food sold today travels the same great distances as conventional food. A UK study published in 2005 in the Journal of Food Policy found that maximum environmental benefit would result from purchasing food produced within a 12-mile radius. - Therefore, buying local food that is not organic could be environmentally "better" than buying organic food that has travelled hundreds or thousands of miles. Many small organic farms, however, sell much or all of their produce locally.
Related movements
Various alternative organic standards are emerging. They generally bypass formal certification, which can be expensive and cumbersome, and provide their own definition of organic food. One such, the Authentic Food standard, proposed by leading US organic farmer Eliot Coleman, includes criteria that are incompatible with current agribusiness:
All foods are produced by the growers who sell them.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs and meat products are produced within a 50-mile radius of their place of their final sale.
The seed and storage crops (grains, beans, nuts, potatoes, etc.) are produced within a 300-mile radius of their final sale.
Only traditional processed foods such as cheese, wine, bread and lactofermented products may claim, "Made with Authentic ingredients." -
Some are also implementing new approaches to defining and buying food. Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is one such approach, that cuts out all the middlemen by having consumers partner with local farmers. CSA members prepurchase "shares" in a season's harvest, and pick up their weekly portions from distribution sites. Thus, consumers provide direct financing for farms, participate in the risks and rewards of annual growing conditions, and participate with farmers in distribution networks.
CSA is one example of "buying locally," which is often valued by both the organic food consumer and producer. Generally speaking, locally-grown seasonal food can be brought to market more quickly than food that has to be transported long distances, and therefore can be better tasting and to some degree more nutritious by virtue of its freshness. Additionally, the act of buying foods that are locally-grown benefits local farmers and other employers. This local food approach is seen as a direct investment in one's own community and a way to reduce economic dependence.
Organic food is also often linked with the fair trade movement, based on the principle that social and environmental sustainability are inextricably interdependent.
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Corporate Industry Structure , Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, University of California, Santa Cruz. 2005. by Phil Howard
Manure facts from the Organic Trade Association
Holistic management at the Northland Sheep Dairy' describes the disadvantages of using uncomposted manure under the second section 'Pros and Cons of Milking Sheep'
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Local food : greener and organic, BBC News, 2-Mar-2005.
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Brief Introduction to Organics - Organic Consumers
Organic Food News
First World Congress on Organic Food from National Food Safety and Toxicology Center
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association - A description of why organic foods and farming may be superior.
Organic Volunteers - Non profit to coordinate internships on organic farms.
Organic Foods Store Locator Find Organic Foods stores in your area.
Farm Methods Organic and Conventional
Farm History
Fertilizer Food 2022
Composting companies help turn food scraps into natural fertilizer Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Amid escalating food crisis, African agriculture is set for fertilizer boom – The North Africa Post The North Africa Post
Declaration of Leaders' Summit on Global Food Security - United States Department of State Department of State
FAIRR engages the world's largest meat producers to address biodiversity AgFunderNews