Organic farming is the truly sustainable solution to our dirty record in agriculture, says the Soil and Health Association, in response to the recently released 2007 State of the Environment Report.
“It is imperative that we improve our environmental record in agriculture, so we can live up to our clean and green image, improve our waterways, soils, human and animal health, and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Soil and Health spokesman, Steffan Browning. “A lot of damage has been done, but we’re offering the solution. The way to make our farming truly sustainable is to go organic, and we need to grab this opportunity immediately with both hands.”
“There are increasing numbers of farmers out there showing that organic production methods are good for the environment, for animal and human health, and for the bank balance. Thanks to the Green Party’s agreement with the government, funding for the Organic Advisory Programme is giving a helping hand to farmers interested in converting to organics.”
Due to natural fertilising regimes, organically farmed soil holds onto nitrogen, virtually eliminating run-off into waterways. Soil structure is improved under organic systems, providing greater drought and flood resistance, and minimising erosion. Under organic systems, soil biology is healthier, and there is greater biodiversity.
Organic farming also offers a way of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. The soil in organic production systems sequesters more carbon than that in conventional farming. Also, no synthetic oil-based fertilisers are used.
Demand for organic food is growing exponentially as consumers seek out produce that is residue-free, tasty and nutritious.
Soil and Health urges the government to encourage farmers to go organic, by increasing funding to help farmers convert, and setting an initial target of 10% organic production by 2012.
The Association encourages farmers and home growers alike to introduce organic practices, and has a vision of New Zealand being completely organic by 2020.