When you choose to purchase produce labeled “organic,” you do so with the expectation that it meets certain standards. You expect that it is grown, processed and handled according to organic regulations.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farms that are certified organic must follow production systems that emphasize protection of natural resources, plant and animal health, preventative management of pests, diseases, and predators, and compliant use of allowed materials. All organic products must be protected from prohibited substances and methods from the field to the point of final sale.
These standards require the integration of cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.
Many farmers who convert from conventional to organic systems find that over time, as they add organic matter, populations of soil microbes and soil invertebrates naturally increase, resulting in a rich, productive soil.
Biological farming takes it up a step. Advocates says that use of biological farming methods results in higher crop yields and foods packed with nutrients.
So just what is biological farming?
Biological Farming is an approach to food production that respects the natural processes in the farm or garden ecosystem in order to yield top quality products, and sustain long-term productivity. Biological farming looks at the whole agronomic and environmental picture of soil health by examining its nutritional and biological components, with the goal of restoring the mineral and microbial balance in the soil.
Biological soil amendments are scientifically formulated to restore soil productivity and promote plant growth. According to supporters, their use increases nutrient availability, enhances root mass development and results in better yields, crops that are pest and disease resistant and better tasting food.
Bill Witt employs biological farming methods at his family farm in Corvallis, Oregon. He uses biological soil amendments to grow berries that have higher than usual levels of vitamins and minerals.
Witt believes that if you’re going to be healthy, you’ve got to eat healthy.
“If the foods you eat are going to be healthy, they have to be grown in healthy soil," said Wilt, owner of Sunset Valley Organics.” “Put more good stuff in soil, and your body will get more out of it."