organic farming promotes the sustainable health and productivity of the ecosystem – soil, plants, animals and people. organic farmers are also careful about how they store and compost animal wastes, in order to safeguard air and water systems. they help protect the global environment, as well: organic farming can greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that contribute to global warming. organic farming promotes the humane treatment of animals. bc has emerged as a leader in organic farming in canada, with the greatest number of organic farms growing both fruit and vegetables. a 2003 opinion survey commissioned from synovate research for the coabc showed that 53% of british columbians now purchase organic food at least occasionally.
there is nothing ‘trendy’ or new about organic farming: it is the way we produced our food for thousands of years, until the very recent arrival of synthetic fertilizers and agri-chemicals in the last century. in fact, as early as 1920, critics of large-scale industrial farming emerged in england, and later in the us and japan. the popularity of organic farming principles surged in the late 1960s and 1970s, particularly with the 1962 release of scientist rachel carson’s ground-breaking book, silent spring, in the us. several more organic organizations formed around the world, including in several regions of canada. according to the 2004 report of the international federation of organic agriculture movements, more than 24 million hectares of agricultural land are now managed organically across the globe, particularly in europe, australia and north america. recently, growth in the organic food sector has been highest in north america, and particularly in canada.
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