• Jim Gerritsen - Why Organic is Important

Jim Gerritsen, Wood Prairie Family Farm, Bridgewater, Maine

As a rule, we Americans have a poor track record when it comes to achieving sustainability in managing resources, such as in farming, fishing and forestry. From an early age, I wanted to better understand how agriculture could fulfill our legitimate needs as human beings and do so in a manner that was gentle on the planet. The right path dawned nature-centric, working in harmony with nature – and leaving the land, the fisheries and the forest in a better condition for our future generations.

What we now call organic farming originated 125 years ago as a protest against the rise of the ‘modern’ age of agriculture which heralded purchased inputs, depleted the soil and devalued experiential knowledge. Displaying full hubris, the new 'modern' agriculture promoted mankind as a conqueror of nature. But time has proven organic farming to be the agricultural paradigm the world needs. Today’s burgeoning community of organic farmers has accumulated hundreds of thousands of years of practical farming experience. Organic farmers grow healthy, nutritionally dense, good-tasting food in a resilient agricultural system which builds soil, sequesters carbon and advances humankind. Demonstrably we organic farmers have no desire or need for persistent synthetic farm toxins, which are proven beyond a doubt to be harmful to people, the environment and the planet. The better we understand nature, the more we advance and the greater our success.