What are the benefits of organic farming?
Organic agriculture: first and foremost respect for the environment and food quality
The fundamental principle of organic farming and animal husbandry is respect. of soil quality, biodiversity, air, water, people and animal welfare. The use of synthetic chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) and GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is excluded in organic farming. The natural rhythm of the animals is respected. They are fed with a variety of organic foods and have access to the open air and pastures.
Numerous studies show that organic foods are generally richer in nutritional value. It can also be pointed out that this sector is growing rapidly, and therefore creates jobs and added value in the territories.
There are no pesticides in organic farming?
Organic agriculture guarantees the non-use of synthetic chemical pesticides by its members. It relies on natural methods of crop protection, such as crop rotation and biological control. Only in the case of a proven threat to a crop and only for this reason can a treatment product be used. Phytopharmaceutical - of natural origin and authorised by the Regulation. Organic farmers also undertake to do their utmost to protect themselves from environmental contamination by the following means :
- planting of hedges, respecting separation distances between crops, carrying out analyses, etc.
- a rigorous control of their products which may lead to the downgrading of organic products in the event of the detection of traces of pesticides. (Compulsory annual on-site verification and unannounced checks).
Organic farming is better for biodiversity
Organic agriculture helps to restore terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and protect animal species. It is both a guardian and a user of biodiversity by :
- prohibiting the use of synthetic chemicals,
- favouring hardy varieties and breeds that are more resistant to disease and better adapted to the environment and climatic conditions.
- preserving or developing natural areas (grassed strips, slopes, etc.), providing shelter and food for fauna essential for pollination or predation by pests.
Are animals better treated organically?
Yes, organic animals are raised with respect for their well-being, their physiological needs and their natural development cycle. They must have access to the outdoors, living spaces adapted to their needs both outdoors and in the barn. Protecting the welfare of organic animals also means minimising any suffering throughout their lives, including at slaughter.
What do organic animals eat?
The animals are fed with organic and varied feed, mainly from the farm. For their health, the organic breeder favours prevention and the use of alternative medicine when necessary. The use of antibiotic medicines is strictly regulated by European regulations and is very limited. All these conditions are checked every year by the certifying bodies.
Impacts on our daily life:
Organic production is more expensive, it's obvious. Organic production requires more space because it requires extensive practices. It also requires more labour (increased monitoring of herds, crops, tillage ...). Finally, the non-use of synthetic chemicals and respect for natural cycles often reduce yields. All these constraints have an impact on prices.
But it is possible to eat and drink organic food and drink on a controlled budget by reviewing your purchasing habits and feeding practices. Favouring short production and distribution channels significantly reduces the purchase price of your product. (markets, farms, local producers...). It no longer takes into account packaging costs and the margins of intermediaries.
Other means: buying seasonal products makes it possible to pay less for them and diversify one's diet. Bulk is also a good way to buy the right quantity, avoid losses and reduce packaging and its costs.
Cooking meals from raw products saves processing costs but also avoids hidden salts, sugars and fats. Comparing prices and limiting food waste by planning menus, cooking leftovers or freezing them also saves money.
Wine and organic: a few figures to remember
Official figures presented by the Agence bio in 2019: organic viticulture in France shows a 23% increase in surface area compared to the previous year (vs +20% between 2017 and 2018). It has gained 18,000 hectares. 14% of French vines are now cultivated organically, i.e. more than 112,057 hectares. In addition to the 68,500 hectares of certified vines, there are 43,500 hectares of vines in conversion, including nearly 21,000 hectares that will be converted in 2019.
These areas are cultivated by just over 8,000 wineries. Compared to 2018, 1,300 more wineries are committed to organic production (6,726 in 2018).
Today, the French vineyard represents +/- 4% of the useful agricultural area (UAA), but it consumes... about 20% of plant protection products! So there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that our wines become "clean" objects to consume, in moderation, but also with total peace of mind.