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Home Ecological/Organic Agriculture

Definition of Organic Agriculture

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Organic Agriculture
Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.

Brief History of Defining Organic Agriculture for the World

After a two year consultative process, in September 2005 in Adelaide, Australia the General Assembly of IFOAM adopted the
Principles of Organic Agriculture which are the fundamentals of Organic Agriculture: health, ecology, care and fairness.

The General Assembly also passed a motion to establish a succinct Definition of Organic Agriculture.  This definition must explain what Organic Agriculture is, reflecting its true nature and the Principles in a concise way.

After almost three long years of intensive work, the Task Force on the Definition of Organic Agriculture came up with a definition. The World Board brought the definition for ratification to the General Assembly of IFOAM during its last session period in June 2008 in Vignola, Italy.

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)

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IFOAM is the worldwide umbrella organization for the organic movement, uniting more than 750 member organizations in 116 countries.

Organic trade is a rapidly growing reality all over the world. The growth rates of the organic sector demonstrate that organic products are moving from the “niche” and entering mainstream markets. The total land under certified organic production worldwide has reached over 26 Million hectares. IFOAM is at the center of this development.

International Relationships
IFOAM actively participates in international agricultural and environmental negotiations with the United Nations and multilateral institutions to further the interests of the organic agricultural movement worldwide. IFOAM is uniquely recognized for taking on this important role. The introduction of the Principles of Organic Agriculture and the recognition of IFOAM by international institutions is of enormous importance for the further development of Organic Agriculture.

The Organic Guarantee System
IFOAM provides a market guarantee for integrity of organic claims. The Organic Guarantee System (OGS) unites the organic world through a common system of standards, verification and market identity. It fosters equivalence among participating IFOAM accredited certifiers, paving the way for more orderly and reliable trade whilst acknowledging consumer trust in the organic ‘brand’.

Facilitating Networks and Market Development
Through IFOAM programs, conferences and events, IFOAM is laying the groundwork for the further development of Organic Agriculture and its markets worldwide. Through IFOAM World Congresses, International Trade conferences, commodity specific (coffee, seeds,  wild products, etc.) and other events , IFOAM brings together the key players from all over the planet to facilitate trade in organic products.



The History of Hydroponics

The word hydroponics comes from two Greek words, "hydro" meaning water and "ponics" meaning labor. The concept of soilless gardening or hydroponics has been around for thousands of years. The hanging Gardens of Babylon and The Floating Gardens of China are two of the earliest examples of hydroponics. Scientist started experimenting with soil less gardening around 1950. Since then other countries, such as Holland, Germany, and Australia have used hydroponics for crop production with amazing results.

Hydroponics greenhouse Hydroponics greenhouse Hydroponics greenhouse

The Benefits of Hydroponics

Hydroponics is proved to have several advantages over soil gardening. The growth rate on a hydroponic plant is 30-50 percent faster than a soil plant, grown under the same conditions. The yield of the plant is also greater. Scientist believe that there are several reasons for the drastic differences between hydroponic and soil plants. The extra oxygen in the hydroponic growing mediums helps to stimulate root growth. Plants with ample oxygen in the root system also absorb nutrients faster. The nutrients in a hydroponic system are mixed with the water and sent directly to the root system. The plant does not have to search in the soil for the nutrients that it requires. Those nutrients are being delivered to the plant several times per day. The hydroponic plant requires very little energy to find and break down food. The plant then uses this saved energy to grow faster and to produce more fruit. Hydroponic plants also have fewer problems with bug infestations, funguses and disease. In general, plants grown hydroponically are healthier and happier plants.

Hydroponic gardening also offers several benefits to our environment. Hydroponic gardening uses considerably less water than soil gardening, because of the constant reuse the nutrient solutions. Due to lack of necessity, fewer pesticides are used on hydroponic crops. Since hydroponic gardening systems use no topsoil, topsoil erosion isn't even an issue. Although, if agricultural trends continue to erode topsoil and waste water, hydroponics may soon be our only solution.


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