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organic farming,the practice of growing plants—especially for fruits and vegetables, but for ornamentals as well—without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, or of raising animals without the use of growth regulators, synthetic pesticides, feed that is produced using synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, and the like. Organic farmers and gardeners use short-lived, biodegradable pest-killers, biological pest control, rotation of crops, and manure and compost to control pests and provide plant nutrients. In the United States, as elsewhere, awareness of the environmental damage and threats to health (see pollutionpollution,
contamination of the environment as a result of human activities. The term pollution refers primarily to the fouling of air, water, and land by wastes (see air pollution; water pollution; solid waste).
..... Click the link for more information. ; environmentalismenvironmentalism,
movement to protect the quality and continuity of life through conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and control of land use. The philosophical foundations for environmentalism in the United States were established by Thomas Jefferson,
..... Click the link for more information. ) caused by DDT, dieldrin, and other insecticidesinsecticides,
chemical, biological, or other agents used to destroy insect pests; the term commonly refers to chemical agents only. Chemical Insecticides
The modern history of chemical insecticides in the United States dates from 1867, when Paris green proved
..... Click the link for more information. and by the excessive use of chemical fertilizers fostered interest in organic gardening, particularly among home gardeners. Organic farming on a large scale is both more difficult and more costly than standard commercial farming, but an increasing market for organically grown, or "natural," foods supports a growing commercial organic farming sector in the United States. See also Integrated Pest ManagementIntegrated Pest Management
(IPM), planned program that coordinates economically and environmentally acceptable methods of pest control with the judicious and minimal use of toxic pesticides.
..... Click the link for more information. ; organic foodorganic food,
food raised without chemicals and processed without additives. Under standards adopted by the U.S. Agriculture Dept. (USDA) in 2000 and fully effective in 2002, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and antibiotics may not be used in raising organic foods, and the
..... Click the link for more information. .
See J. I. Rodale et al., ed., The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (1959, repr. 1971); C. O. Foster, The Organic Gardener (1972).