Have some organic farming questions and confused by the jargon? We have compiled answers to some of the Organic Farming Questions with special reference to Indian conditions. Feel free to comment below for other queries or email us and we will try and answer.
What is meant by organic vegetables
Organic food is produced from integrated agriculture that strives to be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Organic agriculture is based on animal and plant manures, crop rotation, manual weed management and biological pest control. Organic farming complies to an organic standard and avoids chemical fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, genetically modified organisms, irradiation and food additives.
What is the difference between organic and non-organic vegetables?
The difference lies mainly in the production process. Organic vegetables are produced using manures, manual labor and bio-agents and generally yield lesser. Non-organic vegetables are produced with chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, weedicides, growth regulators, ripening agents, food additives and produce higher yields. Some research indicates organic foods to be nutritious based on the inputs used and to have fewer chemical residues.
Can hybrids be used in organic farming?
Yes, hybrid seeds can be used per organic standards; they are not to be confused with GMOs. Hybrid seeds are produced through planned pollination of two selected parents, to bring the good traits in each of the varieties so that the progeny has good characters in yield, pest resistance etc. The downsides of hybrids are that they perform best only under high input conditions and seed needs to be purchased each time.
Is hydroponically grown food organic?
Hydroponic units grow crops in nutrient solutions and hence are technically not organic. Organic nutrient solutions are almost non-existent right now. Hence organic farm produce necessarily has to come from soil based agriculture, also considering aspects of organic farming such as environmental benefits, preservation of natural habitats, biodiversity and view of soil as a living medium.
Read more on our blog post.
What are GMOs?
A genetically modified organism is a living organism whose genetic code has been changed in a lab using genetic engineering or transgenics. Typically a gene is inserted into the DNA in the nucleus of a cell to create new strains of plants, animals or microbes that have a desirable character. GMOs are not allowed in Organic Agriculture, due to the potential unknown risks to health from consuming GMO food and effects on the environment.
Does Organic Farming mean Natural Farming?
No, while Organic farming refers to production complying to a defined organic standard, that includes restrictions on fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides, food additives etc., Natural farming is a term that is applied more generally and not enforced by an authority. There are various schools of natural farming, each having guidelines on the methods and materials to be used.
Read more about organic farming philosophy.