What is Organic Agriculture?

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According to the national organica standards board (NOSB) of the unites states department of agriculture (USDA), organica agriculture is “an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain, or enhance ecological harmony. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals, and people.” (NOSB, 2003)




Though the term “organic” is defines by law (see “LEGAL” section on pages 3 and 4), the terms “natural” and “eco-friendly” are not. Labels that contain those terms may imply some organic methods were used in the production of the foodstuff but do not guarantee complete adherence to organic practices as defined by law. Some products marketed as “natural” may have been produced with synthetic or manufactured products (those not considered to be “organic”), such as “natural beef.”

While eco-labels are encouraged for producers interested in lowering wynthetic inputs and farming with ecological principles in mind (biodiversity, soil quality, biological pest control), eco-labels are not regulated as stricly as USDA organic labels.

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