The Organic Industry and Healthy Living
The word “organic” is not only associated with a kind of farming, an industry or ideal, but also with a way of living. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) says organic agriculture is based on four principles: the principles of health, ecology, fairness and care. Leading an organic life means living a healthy life, being environmentally friendly, treating others fairly and caring for the disadvantaged.
Prof. Chen Shih-shiung, the person who helped turn Agricultural Experimental Farm of National Chung-Hsing University into an organic experimental farm, shares his experiences. The farm used to adopt conventional farming and used chemical pesticides and fertilizers. The 18-hectare farm generated an income of merely $180,000 each year. Technical specialists managing the farm developed a liver disease after being exposed to pesticides for a long time. Prof. Chen, the then head of the farm, decided to turn the farm into an organic farm, producing organic rice, fruit and vegetables. In addition, he experimented with various organic farming techniques. A few years later, the farm’s output value rose from $180,000 to $4 million yearly, while his colleagues’ health improved markedly. The farm also became a good place for people to spend their leisure time and unwind.
The organic industry and ethical trade
Organic farming pursues not only physical health, but also fair treatment of and care for consumers, which gives rise to the concept of “ethical trade”. European countries in recent years have advocated ethical trade, emphasizing only products produced with a sense of social, economic and environmental responsibilities are products meeting ethical trade standards. Being one of the most important elements of ethical trade, organic farming is possible only if sources of pollution such as factories, non-organic farms and genetically modified crops are kept far away from organic farms. Many businesses are taking actions to facilitate development of organic farming. They try to use as much as possible raw materials that don’t damage the environment and green energy, and introduce organic products. With the concept of ethical trade, organic farming can be better integrated into industry, thereby improving organic farming’s image and promoting its development.
Depending heavily on agriculture in the early days, Taiwan has the world’s finest farmers and most advanced farming technology. However, due to the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, the environment has been polluted, ecology destroyed, soil fertility worsened and food safety and people’s health seriously threatened. The Council of Agriculture has been endeavoring to make people aware of the importance of environmental protection and sustainable development so that every consumer can enjoy healthy, reasonably-priced, quality produce.
Organic farming is more than a kind of farming. It also represents a way of living that seeks to coexist with nature. Organic farming aims to treasure resources and love and protect the Earth, which allows us to live a healthier, happier life, give nature lasting vitality and brings future generations a beautiful, sustainable environment.