Glossary Building #2

While writing a report on organic farming, I ran into a big issue, organic was typically defined by what it was not, rather than what it was. When something is defined almost exclusively by what it is not, the term loses sight of its true nature. We see organic as a product or label, but it originally emerged from a multi-disciplinary perspective on our food system, including philosophers, ecologists, consumer groups, and agriculturalists.  Organic, at its core, is a food system philosophy which emphasizes human health and clean environmental practices.

The main form of food production today is conventional farming or industrial agriculture. Where organic farming is concerned with stability, the safety of the environment and human health. Conventional farming is about producing things faster and cheaper, without paying attention to negative consequences. Conventional farming utilizes large amounts of chemicals, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and intensive agriculture practices, all of which have been shown to harm human and/or environmental health.

Pesticides are a key aspect of conventional farming, they kill bugs and other vermin that would otherwise harm the crops. In 2007, the EPA found that the US generated 1 billion tons of pesticides, 80% of this was from conventional farming. Pesticides are incredibly harmful to both human and environmental health. Pesticides have been linked with the declining bee population, without bee’s many crops humans rely on for survival will die out. Some countries are making great strides in saving the bees, today the UK announced that it is banning all insect harming pesticides.

Organic Farming: A substance practice focused on stability, enhancement of biodiversity, soil fertility, environmental conservation and improving human health. It does not allow the use of pesticides, synthetic chemicals, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics or growth hormones.
Conventical Farming: A substance strangury that uses pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified organicism’s, monocropping, antibiotics, growth hormones, heavy irrigation and heavy tillage as a means of food production.
Pesticide: A chemical designed to kill or control plant and animal life. These include herbicides (to kill plants), insecticides (to kill insects), fungicides (prevent mold/mildew) and disinfectants (control bacteria).

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