What is organic gardening?
This is a question that most people would answer with no more than 'non-chemically grown'. There is actually more to it than just that.
First and foremost, the main purpose of organic gardening is not to protect the environment, nor is it to eat healthier. Organic gardening refers to methods used in traditional gardening, before monocultures, machines and chemicals became the norm for most farming methods.
Traditionally, farming methods constituted mainly growing a variety of plants in the same location, taking out weeds and unwanted little beasts manually, and rotating crops so as to not deplete the soil they grew in. Today, large-scale farms keep using the same soil, filling it with chemicals and fertilizers to get optimum growth for a short period of time, then abandon the land and move to another location. This could eventually lead to a lack of land adequate for farming, and this problem is preventable. As you may have heard in the news, people are predicting a shortage of food. The real issue is not the actual quantity of food but the quantity of land that has been permanently damaged by wrongful practices.
Another change in the techniques used is called monoculture. This means that the land is used strictly for one type of plant, which although has some advantages, also causes land issues because all other types of plants are destroyed in that location – to never grow there again, even after the company has moved on its way. The result is loss of plant species, which could eventually lead to increase in deserts. Furthermore, most types of plants need other plants to maximize their potential. For example, coffee needs shade to make the best fruits, and most small-scale, organic farmers chose to plant them alongside banana or plantain plants, or fruit trees. Not only does this make a better coffee bean, it also adds a little taste to it.
Monocultures create another problem: lack of plant diversity, but not just because the entire space is cleared for planting, but because companies chose to only plant one type of food in that area. We used to have hundreds of types of potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes, and now we are down to less than a hundred for each vegetable. Did you know that tomatoes can be yellow? Have you ever seen purple cauliflower? Or a red carrot? They don't taste all that different from one another, but the color variety and health benefits of eating several colors of vegetables are a major plus.
Organic gardening is important for our health, the land and the survival of plant species.