What is organic farming?

Organic farming is a holistic system built upon natural ecological processes.

It values the welfare of both the producer and the consumer of organic food and fibre products, and is committed to conserving natural resources for the benefit of all future generations.

Healthy soil is the prerequisite for healthy plants, animals and products. The maintenance of soil health by ecologically sound means is at the heart of organic production systems and consequently production systems not based on soil (eg hydroponic systems) are not acceptable under the NASAA organic and Biodynamic.

Aims of organic farming

The aims of organic farming are:

  • To produce optimal quantities of food and fibre compatible with human and environmental needs;
  • To produce food of high nutritional value;
  • To work within natural systems in ways which enhance those systems;
  • To maintain and increase long term productivity of soil;
  • To promote wise use of land, water and vegetation and minimise off-farm effects of agriculture on aquatic and terrestrial systems;
  • To foster local and regional production and distribution;
  • To use renewable resources as much as possible;
  • To maintain and increase long-term fertility and biological activity of soils using locally adapted cultural, biological and mechanical methods as opposed to input reliance;
  • To maintain and encourage agricultural and natural biodiversity on the farm and surrounds through sustainable production systems and protection of plant and wildlife habitats;
  • To provide balanced nutrients, optimise opportunities to cycle nutrient within the farm, to recycle nutrients and energy that leave the farm or other farms in food and fibre products that are not consumed (ie organic waste containing energy and nutrients), with the aim of feeding the soil ecosystem;
  • To provide livestock with conditions which satisfy their behavioural and physiological needs;
  • To maintain or increase as appropriate the genetic diversity of domesticated and native plants, animals and other organisms on the farm (this precludes the use of Genetic Engineering);
  • To allow everyone involved in organic production a quality of life to cover their basic needs and obtain adequate return and satisfaction from their work, including a safe working environment;
  • To progress towards an entire organic production chain, which is both socially just and ecologically responsible; and
  • To recognise the importance of and protect and learn from, indigenous knowledge and traditional farming systems.