What is organic? •     Producer assistance •     Why organic? •     Certifications

WHY ORGANIC?

Because it is sustainable over time, Organic Agriculture ensures a rational management of natural resources and avoids the use of harmful chemicals which can be detrimental to the environment and the health of people, consumers and workers alike. There are many benefits of Organic Agriculture:

1. Reduce Energy Consumption
Agriculture in general is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions and the use of chemicals. Modern farming methods and pesticides rely heavily on petroleum. In contrast, organic farming uses natural practices that work in harmony with nature and do not require petroleum or synthetic chemicals derived from fossil fuels.

2. Increases Biodiversity.
The maintenance of natural areas within and around crop fields and the absence of chemical inputs create suitable habitats for wild fauna and flora. The provision of structures offering food and shelter and the lack of pesticide use favor the arrival of permanent or migratory species which may have been displaced from the area.

3. Protect the Soils:
A wide array of plants, animals and fungi work hand in hand to nourish the land. When herbicides or insecticides are not applied, soil fauna and plant species and insects are allowed to grow and flourish. This “beneficial species” (worms, soil insects, fungi, bacteria, etc.) cannot be seen with the naked eye because they are beneath the ground surface; however, they play a critical role in maintaining life and balance in the soil. If soil has no life, it won’t nourish our food!

4. Protect Water Quality
In many agricultural areas, groundwater is heavily polluted by synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and this is a critical problem. Water is an integral part of the life cycle: covers ¾ of the planet and accounts for 2/3 of the human body. Organic farming forbids the use of most pesticides, allowing for those that have organic characteristics or do not compromise water or environmental quality. In addition, these products have GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification so all production processes are closely controlled in each of the farms.

5. Protect your health
Our bodies absorb what we consume. We believe that we do good for our body when we give it wholesome, natural and chemical-free food

6. Protect Workers’ Health
Exposure to agrochemicals can cause acute and chronic toxic effects on human health. Effects can result both from a single, high-dose exposure and from continued exposure to lower levels of the chemicals.

In Argentina, one of the most common complaints is the lack of a regulatory framework and in some cases, lack of compliance with current legislation about safety precautions that should be taken in populated areas and rural schools.

After 15 years of systematic spraying, healthcare teams of crop-sprayed towns spotted a change in the pattern of disease: respiratory problems are much more common and are linked to the applications, as is chronic dermatitis. Similarly, during the fumigation season, epileptic patients convulse much more frequently, and depression, immune disorders are more frequent. High rates of miscarriages are recorded (up to 19 %) and also consultations for infertility of men and women have substantially increased. There has also been a rise in thyroid disorders and diabetes.

More and more children are born with malformations in these areas, especially if the first months of pregnancy coincide with the time of spraying. Down’s syndrome, spina bifida, myelomeningocele, congenital heart disorders are most frequently diagnosed in these areas.

“Crop-sprayed towns show a change in the causes of death. According to data from civil records offices to which we could access, we found that over 30% of deaths in these towns are from cancer, while nationwide, the rate is less than 20%. Cancer death rates have clearly gone up in these areas. This is a new phenomenon which was detected in 2000 by our colleagues. Strangely enough, the date coincides with the expansion of the use of glyphosate and other agrochemicals massively applied in these areas” http://www.reduas.com.ar/situacion-de-los-pueblos-fumigados-en-argentina-2012/ (Data taken from “Médicos de Pueblos Fumigados”).

Workers on certified organic farms are guaranteed safe working conditions and breathe chemical-free air.

7. Organic Agriculture can feed the planet
A 2002 Greenpeace report showed that in Ethiopia, organic farms produced 3-5 times more food than non-organic farms. In Peru crop yield increased by 150% when growers went organic, in Brazil corn production increased by 250%.