The environmental benefits of organic farming are a subject of some debate. Obviously, organic farms do not result in the release of chemical pesticides and herbicides into the environment, nor the leaching of artificial fertilizer. However, proponents of conventional farming argue that organic farms are less productive, requiring more land to be used (and damaged) to produce the same amount of food. Furthermore, some organic farming practices are claimed to do more damage than conventional practices - for instance, the use of Roundup - a herbicide, to prepare soil for planting is claimed to reduce soil damage compared to using a plough. Another argument against organic farming is that whilst it works acceptably at present because pests are kept under control in surrounding conventional farms and thus do not spread into organic farms, if it became universal the "islands" they operate on would disappear and pests would become a severe issue.
Organic food products are also produced without added artificial chemicals such as artificial food colorings[?].
A current market trend is the availability of organic fiber for clothing, such as cotton. Proponents of organic fiber point to exceptionally high levels of the use of pesticides and other chemicals in conventional fiber production, and claim environmental abuse through conventional agriculture.
Many states in the USA now offer organic certification for their farmers. To be certified organic, the land must have been used only for organic production for a certain period of years prior to certification, and only certain naturally-derived chemicals may be used on crops.
In the United Kingdom organic certification is handled by a number of organizations, of which the largest are the Soil Association[?] and Organic Farmers and Growers. All the certifying bodies are subject to the regulations of UKROFS, the UK Register of Organic Food Standards, which itself is bound by EU legislation.
For more detailed information on subjects relevant to organic farming and gardening see;