Organics primer

What is Organic Food?

Organic food crops are grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Genetically modified organisms do not qualify as organic nor do irradiated foods or crops fertilized with sewage sludge.

Organic farmers build healthy soil—fertilizing and building the soil's organic matter through the use of cover crops, compost, and biologically based soil amendments.

Organic meat, dairy products, and eggs are produced from animals which are fed organic feed and are usually allowed free range and outdoor access. Organic livestock and poultry are not given antibiotics, hormones, or medication (other than vaccinations) in the absence of illness.

Why buy organic?

When you purchase the food you eat, you are making choices—about your health, the health of your family, and the health of our environment. As you are concerned with the quality of your health, you should also be concerned with the quality of the food you eat. Organically grown crops are produced without the problems to health and the environment inherent in chemical farming.

Why does organically grown food cost more?

Organic farming is more labour and management intensive than conventional farming. Organic prices are also higher because of supply and demand. As more farms turn to organic techniques prices should stabilize.


Much of the material covered on this page is included in this PowerPoint presentation: A guide to buying organic food. (882 KB)

For comprehensive information regarding the development and growth of Organic Agriculture, visit these pages on the IFOAM web site.