If you are interested in sustainable agriculture, you may have heard of terms like organic farming and natural farming. But what do they mean and how are they different? In this blog post, we will explore the main differences and similarities between these two farming methods, and why they matter for the environment and your health.
Organic farming is a system of agriculture that follows certain principles and regulations to avoid the use of synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Organic farmers use organic inputs, such as compost, manure, rock minerals, and biological pest control methods, to enhance soil fertility and crop quality. Organic farming also aims to protect biodiversity, animal welfare, and social justice. Organic products are certified by third-party agencies to ensure they meet the standards of organic production.
Natural farming is a philosophy of agriculture that mimics the way of nature. It was developed by Japanese farmers Masanobu Fukuoka and Mokichi Okada, who advocated for a "do-nothing" approach to farming. Natural farmers do not use any external inputs, such as fertilizers, pesticides, or even tillage. They let the soil and plants interact naturally, without human intervention. Natural farming relies on natural processes, such as mulching, cover cropping, and microbial activity, to maintain soil health and crop yield. Natural farming does not have a certification system, but rather a set of principles that guide the farmers.
Some of the main differences between organic and natural farming are:
- Organic farming uses organic inputs from external sources, while natural farming does not use any inputs at all.
- Organic farming requires basic agricultural practices, such as plowing, weeding, and pruning, while natural farming avoids any disturbance to the soil and plants.
- Organic farming allows some "safe" chemicals from organic or mineral sources, while natural farming prohibits any chemicals.
- Organic farming has a certification system that regulates the production and labeling of organic products, while natural farming does not have a formal certification system.
Some of the main similarities between organic and natural farming are:
- Both organic and natural farming avoid synthetic chemicals that can harm the environment and human health.
- Both organic and natural farming promote soil health and biodiversity by using natural methods and resources.
- Both organic and natural farming aim to produce high-quality food that is nutritious and safe for consumption.
- Both organic and natural farming are based on a holistic view of agriculture that respects nature and its cycles.
Organic and natural farming are both alternatives to conventional agriculture that use synthetic chemicals and intensive practices that degrade the soil and environment. However, they differ in their methods, principles, and goals. Depending on your preferences and values, you may choose one or the other method for your own farm or garden. Either way, you will be contributing to a more sustainable and healthy food system.