Environmental protection is a close theme to everyone's heart. After all, our planet is our home. Do you know that the European Union attaches great importance to creating environmental awareness of modern society? An important role in this area is played by sustainable agriculture. In this article you will read about 5 ways to contribute to environmental protection through certified organic farms. You will also learn how you can join these activities and take care of the Earth!
We hear about environmental action almost every day. It is defined as protecting all the elements of the Earth's ecosystem from the harmful effects of human activity and as acting rationally in accordance with the laws of nature.1 If we stopped protecting the environment, our planet would gradually degrade and there could be widespread difficulties in obtaining adequate food or clean water.2
This is also the view of the United Nations. The organization clearly indicates that taking care of our planet is the key to stopping the consequences of economic development, which - in addition to improving the quality of life - has brought environmental degradation.3 Although the actions of governments and large corporations are important, each of us can contribute to protecting the environment!
The European Union is committed to protecting the environment. This includes industry, transport, science, energy production and many other sectors. EU regulationsare among the strictest in the world.4 In this way, the EU commission is working to protect the biodiversity of flora and fauna.5The European Green Deal is set to transform Europe into a climate-neutral continent by 2050, mainly through renewable energy sources and modern technologies.6 The concept of environmental protection is also supported by certified organic farms.
Organic farmingis characterized by the most environmentally friendly production methods. They include attention to the protection of natural resources and the maintenance of high animal welfare standards.7 In addition, the European Union requires that certified farms produce food without the use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals.8 This results in many benefits, which can be divided into 5 areas. You will readabout them below.
Organic farming improves soil fertility and condition by:
- Multi-year, diversified crop rotations that reduce weeds and the occurrence of diseases and pests
- Natural fertilizers, which provide plant nutrients and prevent soil erosion
- Grazing onvaried pastures to avoid overexploitation of the land
- After harvesting, sow catch crops, which are nutrient-rich plants that will be plowed in after they have grown. This prevents soil erosion and enriches the soil with nitrogen
- Establishing mid-field plantings to protect the soil from nutrient loss.9
Organic farms maintain high water quality because they conserve water resources. They do notuse chemical fertilizers that could, by soaking in, pollute the deep waters. In addition, collecting and using rainwater promotes rational water management.10
Organic farms donot use synthetic mineral fertilizers, which contribute to significantemissions of volatile organic compounds. Moreover, organic farming is not asintensive as conventional farming, as EU regulations stipulate an area ofoutdoor space for a certain number of animals. This has the effect of reducingharmful substances emitted into the atmosphere.11
The use of natural fertilizers increases the population of micro organisms in the soil.Organic farming prioritizes local plant varieties and animal breeds, thus maintaining regional biodiversity. In addition, numerous grasslands, including pastures, provide habitat for many species of birds and insects.12
The creation of woodlands and meadows as well as the maintenance of local flora, fauna and natural water courses help to improve the rural landscape. With organic farming, areas of wild vegetation are kept safe and non-productive plants are sown and planted to attract natural enemies of pests.13
As you can see,organic farming has two functions. First, it provides natural and tasty products that continue to grow in demand. Second, it intentionally works for our benefit by protecting the planet and developing valuable rural areas. By supporting organic farms, we can do our part to improve the environment. Keep this in mind the next time you go shopping and look for EU foods marked with the green leaf logo!
1 Encyclopedia PWN, Ochrona środowiska przyrodniczego, https://encyklopedia.pwn.pl/haslo/ochrona-srodowiska-przyrodniczego;3949677.html (access 17.05.2022)
2 H. Popiel, M. Koziara, „Zagrożenia dla środowiskanaturalnego w związku z prowadzeniem działalności gospodarczej”, Nowoczesne Systemy Zarządzania nr 7/2012, p. 31
3 Ibid., p. 29-30
4 Official EU website, „Energia, zmiana klimatu i środowisko”, https://ec.europa.eu/info/energy-climate-change-environment_pl (access 17.05.2022)
7 Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development brochure, „Przewodnik po działaniu. Rolnictwo ekologiczne”, 2nd edition, p. 5
8 Ibid., p. 4
9 M. Głodowska, A. Gałązka, „Wpływ rolnictwa ekologicznego na środowisko w koncepcji rozwoju zrównoważonego”, Wieś i Rolnictwo, no. 2(175), 2017, p.154, 155
10 Ibid., p. 155, 156
11 Ibid., p. 157
12 Ibid., p. 157, 158
13 Ibid., p. 158, 159