Organic Farming

Essay by Wardie April 2006

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Emergence of Organic Farming

The roots of organic farming go right back to the early 20th century. Organic farming arises from a philosophical and practical basis, which have led to the development of a variety of alternative methods of agricultural production worldwide. This is one of the reasons why people have misconceptions of what organic farming actually is. ( Le Guillou,2001)

Five key figures have inspired the international organic movement. It all began in the 1920's when Rudolf Steiner prompted the growth of of bio-dynamic cultivation. It quickly gained international recognition and in 1929 the Bio dynamic association was founded. Subsequently different approaches to a new kind of farming emerged throughout Europe.

Despite these movements organic farming remained underdeveloped in Europe for many years. The years between 1924-1970 were a period of struggle and financial difficulty.(Tate,1994). Between 1970-1980 green awareness grew and key organic symbol schemes and associations were set up.

It was in the 80's however that organic farming eventually gained acceptance. There was a major increase in the number of producers and new initiatives got underway for processing and marketing organic products. (Le Guillou,2001).

Regardless of all these efforts however, organic farming was hampered by a lack of clarity. Consumers were confused as to what organic farming actually was. The reasons for this lay in the existence of a number of different philosophies, no specific standards been set and the fraudulent use of labelling referring to organic methods. (Guillou, 2001)

What is Organic Farming

According to Bord Bia "Organic agriculture includes all agricultural systems that promote the environmentally, socially and economically sound production of food and fibres. These systems take local soil fertility as a key of successful production. By respecting the natural capacity of plants, animals and the landscape, it aims to optimise quality in all aspects...