Focus On&. Organic Farming and Agriculture This resource guide aims to provide useful, detailed, high quality sources of information on organic farming and agriculture for students in Higher and Further Education. It is not a definitive list of Web resources on the subject, but a collection of interesting examples of what is available.
More resources can be accessed from the Intute: Health and Life Sciences agricultural gateway at http://www.intute.ac.uk/healthandlifesciences/agriculture/ This Focus On& guide is located at: http://www.intute.ac.uk/supportdocs/focuson/farming.pdf Date of issue March 2008 Author Peter Hoare, Service Officer, Intute: Health and Life Sciences Copyright for this publication belongs to The Intute Consortium. This material may be freely distributed and copied for educational purposes only, provided that appropriate acknowledgement is given to Intute as the copyright holder and original publisher. 1 Intute: Health and Life Sciences http://www.intute.ac.uk/healthandlifesciences/ is the subject group of Intute that provides access to the very best web resources for education and research covering the following subjects: " Medicine " Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health " Agriculture, Food and Forestry " Veterinary Medicine " Biological Sciences " Natural history The Wellcome Trust provides resources in the following subject areas: " Biomedical ethics - BioethicsWeb " History of medicine - MedHist ... more. less.
" Public engagement with science and technology - Psci-Com Each Web resource included in our service is evaluated according to the Intute: Health and Life Sciences evaluation guidelines, which are available from http://www.intute.ac.uk/healthandlifesciences/policy.html Intute: Health and Life Sciences offers an easy to use and powerful tool for discovering the best Internet resources in the health and life sciences.<br><br> There are currently more than 31,000 hand selected high-quality Web resources included in our collection. If you have any comments or feedback on this publication, please do let us know by filling in the online form at http://www.intute.ac.uk/healthandlifesciences/feedback.html and remember you can suggest a site for inclusion in our service at http://www.intute.ac.uk/healthandlifesciences/suggest.html 2 Focus on Organic Farming/Agriculture Introduction....................................................................................4 Definitions of the term cOrganic d........................................4 How the Organic movement started ...................................4 Organic farming 3 study, teaching and practical training..........6 Organisations.................................................................................7 Government bodies and policy issues ........................................8 Certification and standards...........................................................9 Organic food.................................................................................10 Research.......................................................................................10 3 ---oOo--- Introduction Introduction This document focuses on some of the major issues and organisations concerned with organic farming that have been indexed in the Agriculture, Food and Forestry section of Intute. It does not include resources on specific organic farming techniques, although you will find these topics covered if you search our database.<br><br> For each entry here, we give a very brief description of what you will find at that website; there is no ranking of the resources. Definitions of the term cOrganic d The term organic has in some respects become a fashion statement, competing with 8green 9 8environmental 9 8holistic 9 8traditional 9 to describe what advertising executives might call a clifestyle aspiration d. The word 9s popularity and use/misuse makes it harder to define in a more specific (scientific) context.<br><br> For the purpose of this Focus therefore, we need to examine what 8organic 9 means. IFOAM cThe role of organic agriculture, whether in farming, processing, distribution, or consumption, is to sustain and enhance the health of ecosystems and organisms from the smallest in the soil to human beings. In particular, organic agriculture is intended to produce high quality, nutritious food that contributes to preventive health care and well-being.<br><br> In view of this it should avoid the use of fertilizers, pesticides, animal drugs and food additives that may have adverse health effects. d Soil Association cOrganic systems recognise that our health is directly connected to the food we eat and, ultimately, the health of the soil. Organic farmers aim to produce good food from a balanced living soil. Strict regulations, known as standards, define what they can and can't do.<br><br> They place strong emphasis on protecting the environment. d FAO "Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It emphasises the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using, where possible, agronomic, biological, and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfil any specific function within the system." (FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1999).<br><br> How the Organic movement started Some of the PEOPLE 4 The organic movement is generally considered to derive from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner 9s eight lectures on Biodynamic Farming in 1924 (Steiner, R. (1924): Geisteswissenschaftliche Grundlagen zum Gedeihen der Landwirtschaft. 1924; 5th edition, Steiner Verlag, Dornach, 1975) Sir Albert Howard 9s An Agricultural Testament (OUP, 1940) set out the tenets of organic farming.<br><br> In the preface to his book, Howard says somewhat prophetically, cthe land is in revolt d. He is remarkable as a colonial agricultural administrator in British India for his willingness to learn from Indian farmers, for adopting and refining their traditional composting systems, and is regarded as the father of modern composting. Lady Eve Balfour and the 'Haughley Experiment' described in her classic The Living Soil (Faber, 1948) (and available online at http://www.soilandhealth.org/ ).<br><br> JI Rodale worked on the idea of regenerative agriculture in the US in 1930s and 40s. He is credited with popularising the term organic agriculture, and described the connection between chealthy soil and healthy people d. He published his studies and advice on organic methods in his magazine Organic Farming and Gardening Magazine (Rodale 1942 - ).<br><br> The organisation that bears his name continues his work today (see below). EF Schumacher German-born international economist and philosopher put forward the ideas of appropriate technology and small-scale development, which have had a significant impact on the organic movement. He founded the Intermediate Technology Group ( http://practicalaction.org/ ), and his books Small is Beautiful (Blond & Briggs, 1973) and A Guide for the Perplexed (Jonathan Cape, 1977) outline his beliefs and philosophy.<br><br> Some ORGANISATIONS There is a plethora of organisations and groups across the world concerned with research, promotion and demonstration of organic techniques. Many of the reputable ones have websites that are listed in Intute. Here are just three of the most widely known: Rodale Institute http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/ founded by the American agriculturalist and publisher J I Rodale (above).<br><br> Its philosophy and driving force stems from his central message cHealthy Soil = Healthy Food = Healthy People d® The Soil Association http://www.soilassociation.org/ founded in the UK in 1946 as a result of the publication of Eve Balfour 9s book (above). 5 FAO http://www.fao.org/ The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was established as a UN agency in 1945. Its work includes promoting and enhancing sustainable agricultural production and environmental integrity.<br><br> Organic farming 3 study, teaching and practical training Organic farming 3 study, teaching and practical training Resource guide for organic insect and disease management http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/pp/resourceguide/ An overview of organic crop management practices and an extensive list of fact sheets for vegetable crop groups, illustrating key pest and disease problems and their control. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center http://riley.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?tax_level=1&info_center=2 AFSIC is US based, providing information on sustainable, organic, low-input, biodynamic, and regenerative agriculture, as well as information related to alternative agricultural enterprises and crops. Bird flu advice for organic farmers http://www.soilassociation.org/web/sa/psweb.nsf/B2/bird_flu.html Specific technical advice on avian influenza directed at organic poultry producers; regularly updated.<br><br> Climate change and agriculture http://www.soilassociation.org/web/sa/saweb.nsf/b0062cf005bc02c180256a6b0 03d987f/d2b3a314a06b799780256fc70039d5ac!OpenDocument Briefly discusses the role of organic farming in reducing global warming. Compendium of animal health & welfare in organic farming http://www.organic-vet.reading.ac.uk/ An extensive training and information resource on the welfare aspects of organic livestock production. Natural systems agriculture http://www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/naturalagriculture/index.html Manitoba University website with practical information about organic and low- input agriculture.<br><br> Includes QuickTime video presentations. Organic AgInfo http://www.organicaginfo.org/ Large and highly informative website full of practical resources on organic farming, commodity production, transition issues, quality and standards. Organic farming http://www.organic.aber.ac.uk/library/orgfa4.pdf Short document presenting basic elements of organic farming in the UK, the conversion process, and grants and support available for farmers.<br><br> Organic lifestyles http://organiclifestyles.tamu.edu/index.html Website from Texas A&M University with broad appeal, introducing basic principles of organic farming, horticulture, and soil biology. 6 Teaching organic farming and gardening: resources for instructors http://casfs.ucsc.edu/education/instruction/tofg/index.html Extensive training manual from the University of California Santa Cruz, providing practical material for teaching organic farming and horticulture. Teaching direct marketing and small farm viability: resources for instructors http://casfs.ucsc.edu/education/instruction/tdm/contents.html This manual presents practical knowledge, lecture notes, and resource lists on the teaching of marketing skills for small to medium organic farmers.<br><br> Organisations Organisations Biodynamic Agricultural Association of Great Britain (BDAA) http://www.biodynamic.org.uk/ Founded in 1929 and following the principles of Rudolf Steiner, the BDAA promotes biodynamic farming and gardening in the UK. Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association (BDA) http://www.biodynamics.com/ Sister organisation to the BDAA, promoting the biodynamic system in the US. Center for Global Food Issues http://www.cgfi.org/ Part of the Hudson Institute in Washington DC, supports high-yield farming, and is critical of organic agricultural methods.<br><br> Ecoagriculture Partners http://www.ecoagriculturepartners.org/ International non-profit organisation that works with farmers, conservationists, researchers to sustain and develop ecoagriculture. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements http://www.ifoam.org/ Umbrella organisation for the organic agriculture movement worldwide. Large amounts of documentation and information available at this site.<br><br> Soil association http://www.soilassociation.org/web/sa/saweb.nsf?Open The UK's leading certification body and campaigner for organic food and farming. Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming http://www.sustainweb.org/ An alliance of UK national public interest organisations which promote the use of sustainable agriculture. 7 The New Farm http://www.newfarm.org/ A Rodale Institute website with news & informative articles on organic production.<br><br> Government bodies and policy issues Government bodies and policy issues Action plan to develop organic food and farming in England - two years on http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/organic/policy/actionplan/pdf/actionplan2year.pdf Progress report on the government action plan, examines developments in the organic food market, and certification issues. Outlines priorities for further action. Agriculture: organic farming http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/qual/organic/index_en.htm The European Commission's organic farming website, providing information on the EU agricultural sector.<br><br> EISfOM: European Information System for Organic Markets http://www.eisfom.org/ An EU project website with reports and recommendations on establishing a framework for organic market information. Also lists links to statistical material on organic farming in Europe. European hearing on organic food and farming - towards a European action plan http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/events/organic/index_en.htm Presentations to the European Commission hearing on organic food and farming, from the farming and food industries, supermarkets, and consumers.<br><br> Farming: organic farming http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/organic/ Current information from Defra for organic farmers and those wishing to convert; includes standards, research, conversion requirements, grants and organic farming statistics. Also provides information for consumers. Impact of CAP measures on environmentally friendly farming systems: status quo, analysis and recommendations.<br><br> The case of organic farming. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/agriculture/pdf/effscap_report.pdf Presents evidence that organic farmers receive lower payments under CAP arrangements than conventional farming. Makes recommendations regarding payments which will not disadvantage the growth of organic farming.<br><br> OMIaRD: Organic Marketing Initiatives and Rural Development http://www.irs.aber.ac.uk/omiard/index.html EU funded project looking at the impact of sustainable (organic) agriculture on rural development. Some reports available free. 8 Organic agriculture at FAO http://www.fao.org/organicag/ News, reports, projects and research on organic farming systems, eco- agriculture, and sustainability worldwide from the UN agency.<br><br> Organic Europe http://www.organic-europe.net/ Gives an overview of organic farming in 25 European countries; includes reports, background documents and a database of organisations associated with organic farming. Organic farming: guide to community rules http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/qual/organic/brochure/abio_en.pdf EU document providing basic information on the development, rules, and standards applied to organic farming in the EU. Organic farming in Scotland http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Agriculture/Agricultural-Policy/15869/3748 Information on organic farming in Scotland, including stakeholder and marketing organisations.<br><br> Organic industry http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/organics/ This website from the Queensland state government presents a view of organic farming from one of the world 9s largest agricultural producers Certification and standards Certification and standards Advisory Committee on Organic Standards - ACOS http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/organic/standards/acos/index.htm ACOS is an independent body providing advice standards for organic food production and processing in the UK. Compendium of UK Organic Standards http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/organic/standards/pdf/compendium.pdf Defra document outlining standards for organic food production in the UK. FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission: organically produced foods ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a0369e/a0369e00.pdf Internationally approved guidelines providing an agreed approach to the production, processing, labelling, and marketing of organic foods.<br><br> National Organic Program (NOP) http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/index.htm Provides information on regulations and standards of growing, processing and marketing of organic products in the USA. 9 Organic Food Federation http://www.orgfoodfed.com/ The OFF provides inspection, certification and registration services for organic producers. The site includes guidelines for complying with organic principles, and background information on organic farming.<br><br> Standards for organic food and farming in Ireland http://www.iol.ie/~organic/downloads/stdsjan063.pdf Defines organic farming systems and lists all standards to be met in order for food products or agricultural inputs to be termed organic. OrganicXseeds http://www.organicxseeds.com/ Comprehensive database providing buyers with up-to-date information on the availability of organic seeds and seedlings in Europe. Organic food Organic food Improving sustainability in organic and low input food production systems https://www.fibl.org/shop/pdf/hb-1455-organic-food-production.pdf Papers from a 2007 conference which examine consumer expectations and production methods in safe and low cost crop and livestock production.<br><br> Quality low input food http://www.qlif.org/ QLIF studies the reduction or omission of agricultural inputs, such as pesticides, mineral fertilisers, and growth promoters, whilst ensuring safe food supplies. Still no free lunch: nutrient levels in U.S. food supply eroded by pursuit of high yields http://www.organic-center.org/reportfiles/Yield_Nutrient_Density_Final.pdf# Report from the Organic Center suggesting that nutrient density, the concentration of nutrients in a given volume of food, has declined in past decades as crop yields and animal production has increased.<br><br> Whyorganic http://www.whyorganic.org/ A Soil Association popular e-zine on nutrition and healthy eating for children, local food production and farming issues. Research Research Discourse of organic food promotion: language, intentions and effects http://creet.open.ac.uk/projects/language-of-food- politics/documents/4_organic_food_report.pdf Research report examining the language used in marketing organic food in the UK. 10 Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming: DARCOF http://www.darcof.dk/ A major research resource on organic agriculture.<br><br> ecol-agric http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/ecol-agric.html Listserv intended for academics, researchers, and others working in the field of ecological (organic/biological) agriculture. Ecological Agriculture Projects (EAP) http://eap.mcgill.ca/general/Sitemap.htm International organisation working with farmers, conservationists, and researchers to develop eco-agriculture. Ecological cereal breeding and genetic engineering http://www.ifgene.org/karutz.htm Discusses the need for separate plant breeding for organic agriculture, where genetically engineered seeds are not considered suitable.<br><br> Elm Farm Research Centre (EFRC) http://www.efrc.com/ Research and promotion of organic agriculture as the most environmentally sound way of producing healthy food. ERS/USDA briefing room - organic farming and marketing http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/Organic/ Research results, readings, and data on the organic farming sector from the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. FiBL http://www.fibl.org/english/index.php One of the leading research and information centres on organic agriculture; based in Switzerland.<br><br> Research reports available here on all aspects of organic production. Garden organic http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/index.php Website of The Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA), dedicated to researching and promoting organic gardening, farming and food. Nafferton Ecological Farming Group http://www.ncl.ac.uk/tcoa/producers/index.html Research on comparisons between organic and conventional farming systems.<br><br> The website gives information and reports on current and past research. Organic Eprints http://orgprints.org/ An international open access archive of research reports and papers on organic agriculture and related topics. 11 Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) http://www.omri.org/ US-based OMRI conducts technical and scientific reviews, and lists materials allowed and prohibited for use in the production and processing, of organic food and fibre.<br><br> Organic Monitor http://www.organicmonitor.com/ Provides marketing information, trade, research and production news for the organic food industry. Abstracts of technical and marketing reports available. Organic-research.com http://www.organic-research.com/ Online database from CAB International giving current information on all aspects of organic agriculture.<br><br> Full access requires subscription. World of Organic Agriculture 2007 http://www.soel.de/oekolandbau/weltweit.html Annual report on the global development of organic farming and market trends. Pay-to-view, but free summary available.<br><br> Agroecology http://www.agroecology.org/ The site provides a wide range of case studies demonstrating the principles of agro-ecology, a glossary, and extensive links. ---oOo--- To find more evaluated resources on organic farming & agriculture, search Intute at http://www.intute.ac.uk/healthandlifesciences/agriculture/ 12