A BIT OF HISTORY
ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IS
While being a modern and innovative approach, organic agriculture has distant origins. It was born from alternative movements charac¬terized by a "spiritual" or "philosophical" component that developed concepts of agriculture which were in contrast with those of inten¬sive and industrial agriculture.
Briefly, the following cultivation methods derive from these movements.
The basis for this method was formulated by the Austrian Rudolf Steiner, founder of anthroposophic theory which supports the health of the earth and maintenance and growth of fertility as a way to improve food quality.
In India, Sir Howard observed cultivation methods (the so-called "Indore Method") promoted by the local peasants and the compost¬ing of organic material in order to create humus: "The life cycle is made up of two processes, growth and decline, which are counter¬parts or each other."
In the 1950s, this method gave rise to the "organic-biologic" movement which promotes a natural approach to cultivation.
This method insists on the need for abundant organic fertilizers,
with iutur.il phosphates, long rotation cycles, fields planted with legumes and "green manure". To fight insects and parasites, this method employs aromatherapy.
This method, also called "natural agriculture" or "do nothing" discourages all types of working of the soil, cultural interventions or medicinal treatments, limiting itself simply to planting and harvesting.
This discipline integrates ecology, landscape theory, organic culti¬vation, architecture, forestry and animal husbandry by proposing technologies which recognize the need for and utilize renewable energy sources.
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE
|INNOVATIVE, in that it was the first agricultural sector to adopt quality procedures (ISO 65).
SAFE, because it is controlled and certified by Ministry-authorized inspection bodies.
TRACEABLE through all steps of production. SUSTAINABLE from an environmental, economic and social point of view because it (source: Codex Alimentarius):
• prohibits the use of GMOs and chemical inputs
throughout the production process;
• maintains and improves the biological biodiversity (genetic,
species and landscape biodiversity) of the system;
• maintains and improves lasting soil fertility;
• promotes the raising of environmentally suitable breeds;
• favours the well-being of animals;
• reduces the use of non-renewable resources and adds
value to local resources;
• promotes the correct use of natural resources (soil,
water, atmosphere) and reduces all forms of pollution
deriving from agricultural practices;
|• favours the capture of C02, thus contributing to fight
• maintains production over time against climatic
• eliminates the risk of direct and indirect intoxication for
• increases the need for labour and of employment;
• produces quality foods that are free of wastes, traceable
and certified with a recognizable label;
• favours agricultural multifunctionality by producing not
only foods but also values and environments: extra-
agricultural activities such as food processing, agritourism,
opportunities for learning, direct sales, sociability;
• maintains agricultural traditions and supports rural and
local community economic development;
• contributes to food safety by building up resource
management, helping local agricultural, fishing and
herdsmen communities to be self-sufficient and to
|Health Organic Agriculture should sustain
and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal,
human and planet as one and indivisible.
Ecology Organic Agriculture should be based
on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them,
emulate them and help sustain them.
Fairness Organic Agriculture should build on relationships
that ensure fairness with regard to the common
environment and life opportunities.
Care Organic Agriculture should be managed
in a precautionary and responsible manner
to protect the health and well-being of current
and future generations and the environment.
WHAT IS AN ORGANIC PRODUCT?
A product obtained from raw agricultural materials produced with organic methods which comply with the standards set out in EEC regulation 2092/91 and verified by inspection bodies. These regulations, in particular, prohibit:
* the use of chemical and synthetic substances
* the use of genetically modified organisms and/or
* irradiation of products or their ingredients to improve
* the use of additives and processing enhancers, unless they have
been expressly authorized by the European Union list (e.g. oxygen,
nitrogen, pectin, carob seed Hour, water, salt, alcohol, etc.).
As per the above mentioned regulations, an organic foodstuff must be free of additives and genetically modified organisms.
| WHY SHOULD I BYE ORGANIC?
|Choosing to buy organic means choosing quality products that respect the following principles.
• With organic products there is no ri.sk of contamination from
synthesized chemical substances as well as genetically modified
• Organic products are obtained with methods which respect
nature's rhythms in that artificial techniques which force and/or
reduce growth and development times arc not applied,
thus guaranteeing not only the proper balance of nutritive content but also high organoleptic quality.
• Organic products do not contain preservatives, they are
"seasonal" and thus must be consumed when they are
at their best. All these factors make organic products ideal for healthy nutrition.
Sensitivity toward the environment
• Organic production techniques respect the environment.
|• The consumer is aware of the fact that organic practices make it
possible to safeguard and maintain the territory without
polluting and without compromising delicate ecosystems,
and avoiding the waste of natural resources.
Well-being for animals
• Organic animal husbandry guarantees optimal conditions
for growth and development of animals. This is assured
by practices which use grazing, spacious and well-aired stalling environments, organically produced feed and veterinary care based on phytotherapeutic and homeopathic remedies. Organic foods are ideal for all age groups, beginning in infancy.
Therefore, there are many good reasons to choose organic, both as a producer and as a consume