Agriculture: Organic

Authored by: John P. Reganold , Jonathan M. Wachter

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:


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Organic agriculture is a quickly expanding global market force that seeks socioeconomic and environmental sustainability on local and global scales. It relies on the integration of a diversity of farm components, cycling of nutrients and other resources, and stewardship of soil and environment. This entry discusses organic agricultural practices, the history and extent of organic agriculture, organic certification, and the sustainability of organic agriculture. The performance of organic farming systems in the context of sustainability metrics indicates that organic agriculture, now occupying about 1% of global agricultural land, can play a much larger role in feeding the world in an unpredictable future. No one farming system alone will safely feed the planet. Rather, a blend of organic and other innovative farming systems, such as agroforestry, integrated farming, conservation agriculture, and mixed crop/livestock systems, will be needed for future global food and ecosystem security.

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