Most consumers have only a vague idea of what the term "organic farming" really means. Many have the mistaken idea that organic farming is against all conventional farming practices. They think that organic means farming in the absence of fertilizers and pesticides of all kinds. Some have gone as far as to think that organically grown produce and animals are things that have been grown and altered in a laboratory.
Nobody has explained to consumers that organic farming employs a deliberate and carefully controlled program. The main purpose of organic farming is to improve farm soil, thus gradually reducing the need for off-farm amendments. This is accomplished by combining recycled nutrients with naturally balanced relationships within the growing environment.
The most complete official definition of the term "organic,"
in my opinion, is the one that was passed by the National Organic Standards
Board (NOSB) in April 1995 in Orlando, Fla. The definition is as
Organic is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. The principle guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and to integrate the parts of the farming systems into an ecological whole.
Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues. However, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water.
Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to
standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural
products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to
optimize the health and productivity of interdependent
communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.