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Chemical vs Organic vs Natural farming

Chemical vs Organic vs Natural farming

Farming involves growing crops and keeping livestock. The domestication of plants and animals began about 12,000 years during the Neolithic age. This innovation revolutionized our way of living. Farming enabled humans to build permanent settlements and develop the cities in which we now live. With the advent of farming, the population also rapidly grew in and around the settlements. 

Over the centuries, farming methods have changed due to the increase in population, scarcity of land. The subsequent demand for food, whether it is the type of pesticide used or the seeds to improve the quality of production and the product itself had to be looked into and renovated. 

In this article we discuss three types of farming: 

  1. Chemical
  2. Organic
  3. Natural 

What is Chemical farming?

As the name suggests, it involves chemicals for easier and faster production. With an increase in population and demand for food, chemical fertilizers, hybrid seeds like GMOs, herbicides, and many more became the norm for continuous food production.  

Though Chemical farming results in faster yields, the effects of chemicals are long-lasting. It also contributes to greenhouse gases, soil erosion, and pollution of water bodies, and threatens human health adversely. 

Besides the effect on soil and water, the pesticides used are very harmful to humans causing cancer, harmful effects on reproduction & on the immune and nervous systems. 

There are two ways Chemicals can affect us. 

  1. Direct exposure would be due to handling of the fertilizers & pesticides while farming. 
  2. Indirect exposure would be through the consumption of the food cultivated in farms using these chemicals.  The “Dirty Dozen list” is the list of foods having the highest pesticide residue. Strawberries and Spinach top this said list.  

Recent studies show that approximately 2 million tons of chemical pesticides are used globally. Chemical farming is still majorly used in some of the biggest economies like China, the USA, and Argentina. While the biggest manufacturer of chemicals is in China and India. 

How is Organic farming different from Chemical farming?

Organic farming aims to cultivate and harvest healthy produce without any chemicals. This type of farming leaves a lesser carbon footprint as opposed to chemical farming. 

The development of Organic farming came in the early 1900s by Sir Albert Howard, F. H King & Rudolf Steiner who believed using animal manures, crop rotation and biological pest control are better farming practices. The health impacts of hybrid seeds and pesticides fostered the growth of Organic farming. 

Organic farming methods help improve the ecosystems with safe practices like water management, minimum tillage, and habitat maintenance which is useful for animals and insects. 

One of the major disadvantages of Organic farming is that Organic food is expensive. The costs are the cost of growing the food, the labor used, and pest control management. The other is also due to lower yields. It might look like a disadvantage at the moment but compared to Chemical farming, it is more profitable. It delivers more environmental benefits and is healthier in terms of nutritional benefits with reduced pesticide exposure. 

A few other disadvantages are certifications required by the farmer, time required for marketing and higher costs of production. 

India leads in practicing Organic farming with over 83,500 certified Organic farmers, followed by Uganda and Mexico. Much of the tea produced in India is through Organic farming. 

What is Natural farming, and how different is it from Organic farming?

Natural farming or Spiritual farming is a practice where the laws of nature are applied to agriculture. Meaning it works along with the natural diversity of each cultivated area. This method is developed by Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer and philosopher. 

Like Organic farming, Natural farming is chemical free and promotes the use of local/native seeds compared to hybrid seeds used in Chemical farming.  

Some of the key differences between Organic and Natural are- lack of use of pesticides in any form in Natural farming compared to biological pest control used in Organic farming. 

The other difference is using practices like tilting, weed removal, etc. Natural farming does not practice these and lets the crop grow in its natural environment. Natural farming is low-cost compared to Organic farming. 

One of the most popular methods of Natural farming is zero-budget natural farming (ZBNF) which is a method developed by Padma Shri Subhash Palekar. It is free from any form of chemical using traditional ingenious methods. 


Each one of them comes with a set of pros and cons. One might think Organic farming is the way to lessen the harmful effects on the environment but Chemical farming produces faster yield compared to Organic farming and Natural farming. Faster produce is needed due to the ever-growing population considering the current population might hit 8 billion soon. When done correctly, chemical farming uses integrated pest management to reduce pesticide use and then chooses the pesticide that targets the problem with the least untargeted impact. 

To conclude, there needs to be a mix of these farming methods to cater to the growing population, to benefit the environment and also be cost-effective.  

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About Let’sLive

Let’sLive is a social empowerment enterprise committed to enhancing and improving the livelihoods of tribal and farming communities. We work directly with small-scale farmers so that our customers can get access to products that are natural, pristine, and picked from the lap of nature. We encourage and provide advice for practicing ethical farming and eco-friendly methods to all those who partner with us.

At Let'sLive we are passionate about bringing 100% all-natural and healthy products directly from the farming and tribal communities to your doorstep like Pure Raw Honey, Traditional varieties of rice, etc. We want our consumers to enjoy and have direct access to products that are pristine and picked directly from the lap of nature. The mandates by which we operate are:
* Value every life around us by encouraging ethical farming
* Leverage local knowledge and promote legacy harvesting practices with high hygienic standards
* No preservatives or artificial processing on any of our products
* Each product can be traced to its origins and the people involved in its making
* Educate consumers on the importance of consuming rich and natural local produce

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