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What does organic mean?

Organic farming is an agricultural method with respect for nature and characterized by the utilization of the natural life cycles. As a result of this the food produced is “real”.

Features of organic farming are:

  1. An ample crop rotation scheme as a necessary condition for an efficient use of natural resources at the spot.
  2. Very strict restrictions at the use of chemical synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, antibiotics for livestock, food additives, technical aid substances and other additives.
  3. An absolute prohibition on the use of genetically modified organisms (GM crops).
  4. The use of local resources, such as organic manure of animal feedstuff produced at the farm.
  5. The choice of plant cultivars and animal breeds that are tolerant or resistant against pests and diseases and that are adapted to the local conditions.
  6. Access to the outdoors for livestock and the use of organic animal feed.
  7. Livestock farming in accordance with the natural needs of the different types of animals kept.

In order to market food as “organic” the farmer –but also all further links in the chain, such as processors and storage companies – should meet the European legislation for organic production. This also includes strict inspection which is carried out in the Netherlands by Skal.

The organic product should be labelled with the European organic label, the green leaf with the stars.

The basic values of organic farming have been laid down in the so-called IFOAM-principles: Ecology, Health, Fairness and Care.

Ecology: organic farming is based on living ecological systems and life cycles; it has to cooperate with them and to support them.

Health: organic farming should endorse, maintain and strengthen the health of soil, plants, animals, human beings and our planet earth.

Fairness: organic farming has to build on relations of equivalence, respect, righteousness and stewardship that lead to loyalty and honesty between people and between people and other living organisms.

Care: organic farming has to be carried out carefully and responsibly, in order to protect the health and well-being of present and future generations and their environment.

A part of these principles has been made concrete in legislation; a part has not, such as the use of green energy, clean fuels or renewable packaging. The EKO Quality mark indicates that the entrepreneur fully endorses the principles of organic farming. Also that the entrepreneur wants to be transparent to the buyers and consumers about all aspects of sustainability. This means the EKO Quality mark goes further than where legislation ends.

On www.bionext.nl you will find more information about organic production.