“In 1939, the term ‘organic farming’ [was coined] out of [the] conception of ‘the farm as organism’ to describe a holistic, ecologically balanced approach to farming.” – Wikipedia
The modern organic movement was born in the early twentieth century in response to agricultural damage the industrial revolution’s introduction of synthetic chemicals had caused, including erosion, soil depletion and a decline in crop varieties.
The organic practices that emerged focused on traditional farming methods—used for thousands of years before chemicals were introduced—to conserve and improve soil. Improved soil conditions, it was thought, would provide a sustainable agriculture solution that would yield better tasting and more nutritious food.
“Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.” – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The synthetic pesticides and chemicals used in conventional growing methods are transferred into groundwater and can pollute water in nearby streams, rivers and lakes. They can also leach soil nutrients, destroy soil structure and leave the ground vulnerable to erosion.
But organic practices that feed and protect plants and soil with natural and renewable resources—such as manure, compost, plant cuttings and mulch—can improve the soil’s ability to retain nutrients and improve soil structure over time, creating an ecosystem that is healthy and sustainable for the long-term.
“Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” –USDA
Conventional, non-organic growers manage pests and disease using synthetic pesticides and feed plants with chemical fertilizers. These pesticides and chemicals leave residue on (and in) a plant that those working with the plant may be exposed to and that may be ingested when the plant is consumed.
The USDA claims that an organic plant carries significantly fewer pesticide residues than does a conventional plant. That’s because organic growers feed plants and soil with natural fertilizers—such as manure or compost—and use natural pesticides and beneficial insects to help manage pests and disease.
“Because they’re not protected by pesticides, organic plants that suffer from insect attack can accumulate higher level of flavor chemicals and other protective molecules, including antioxidants.” – Harold McGee, Food Scientist
Better taste is a certainly a subjective matter. But here are some of the theories that support why many claim organic foods taste better:
“Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.” –USDA
Not just anyone can slap an organic label on a product and call it good. The USDA established a government-regulated organic certification program that defines how foods must be grown and processed if they are to be labeled organic. The certification process is time consuming and the certification standards are rigorous.
This process assures consumers that when they buy something labeled organic they’re buying a product free of toxic chemicals and the company they’re buying from supports farming methods that benefit the environment.
“The term “organic” may only be used on labels and in labeling of raw or processed agricultural products, including ingredients, that have been produced and handled in accordance with [USDA] regulations.” – USDA
Products can only display these seals if they meet USDA organic certification standards. In conjunction with the USDA organic seal, a product may also be labeled “100 Percent Organic” if all ingredients are certified organic, or “Organic” if the product contains at least 95 percent certified organic ingredients.
Anything labeled “Made with Organic Ingredients” must contain 70 to 94 percent organic ingredients and may not display the USDA organic seal. Any product with less than 70 percent organic ingredients does not qualify for an organic label and may only use the word organic within its ingredients list to identify which ingredients are organic.
To be sure you’re buying certified organic, look for one of these USDA seals on a product’s label:
“Organic production is not simply the avoidance of conventional chemical inputs, nor is it the substitution of natural inputs for synthetic ones. Organic farmers apply techniques first used thousands of years ago, such as crop rotations and the use of composted animal manures and green manure crops, in ways that are economically sustainable in today’s world.” – USDA
Teatulia’s mission is to sustain the land and the people while producing top-quality tea. So it just makes sense that we are a USDA-certified organic tea garden.
By using natural farming practices that don’t harm the environment, we’ve created a diverse and thriving ecosystem that is highly sustainable and provides a bright future for the Bangladeshi men and women who help cultivate our exquisite teas.
Learn more about Teatulia’s sustainable practices and cultivation techniques. https://www.teatulia.com/sustainable-practices.htm